Screw Time Warner. Municipalities should pay attention to; I am not alone in being one of the people to check what internet is available when deciding on a place to live. Time Warner is #1 on my "No chance in hell" list.
If they want to encourage tech-savvy people to move in, local governments would be wise to encourage competitors to enter the local market.
Yes, their terms of service permit them to refuse service to any individual, as is the case in any business. So long as this refusal cannot be demonstrated as discriminatory (as per the definition of discrimination in that specific jurisdiction), they are within their legal rights to do so.
However, there are concerns here that are valid and do have legal merit.
One is collusion, which essentially constitutes a conspiracy against the public and attempts to create a punitive legal process that is independent of, and intentionally circumvents, the established civil and criminal legal systems in the US. This is generally not permitted. Antitrust law may come into play here.
Legal rights of customers include protection from defamation. if AT&T hands over the personal details of their customers to a third party absent a court order and without the consent of the customer, along with the assertion that that customer has engaged in unlawful activity, then that could constitute libel. This is especially so in the absence of any evidence specifically linking the individual name associated with the account and any alleged illegal activity.
So while they can cut you off, they are not able to simply do whatever they want, nor does language in their terms of service necessarily indemnify them from wrongdoing.
Time and again, US legal precedent has shown that in fact a person can not be held accountable for illegal activity on an internet connection for which they are the account holder, unless it can be demonstrated that they were the perpetrators of said illegal activity.
In a similar vein, it has also been established as precedent by US law that an IP address is not a person, and that the association of an IP address with an unauthorized torrent is not sufficient grounds to disclose information about the account holder associated with that IP address.
This six-strikes plan represents, in essence, a conspiracy against the public in order to circumvent established legal decisions. Furthermore, it is a possible violation of anti-trust laws, since all of these ISPs have colluded together, at the strong urging of content providers...and that this collusion's effective result is detrimental to the consumer and the public at large.
There will be lawsuits. And I think the reason for the delay of this program is that they KNOW there will be lawsuits.
Especially since any attempt to force this would have to unilaterally force the consumer to either wave their established right to sue in favor of arbitration that is not answerable to legal precedent, nor the typical appeals and judicial review measures present within the constitutionally-established criminal justice system.
This makes ATT's assertion that an account holder is responsible for all activity on their internet connection dishonest. They have no legal authority to overturn established legal precedent by writing it away in their own terms of service. Readily giving the personal details of their customers to those who stand to gain financially from these customers through abuse of the legal system, without a subpoena, court order or search warrant, constitutes a violation of that consumer's civil rights and their right to due process, and may be actionable in civil court under anti-defamation laws.
Legal arguments aside, the ISPs have a fiduciary duty to only two groups of people: their shareholders and their customers, not the MPAA and RIAA. They should not, and by some accounts may not, do the dirty work of the supply-side of that industry, to the detriment of your own. Such actions are contrary to this trust.
It has been for some years that people in poorer countries, especially the developing world, have been essentially held hostage by western corporations and their influence on governments, WTO, and the world bank. From medication that actually costs more in Asia or Africa than it would in the US or UK, to forcing farmers to use seeds that are crippled so that they cannot be replanted...forcing them to buy them from Monsanto every harvest.
India has been one of the worst victims of this post-colonial imperialism; and It is good to see the yoke breaking more and more.
When one gets rich at the cost of human lives, when one benefits from human misery and suffering... You do wonder how they sleep at night. I would say these sorts of poeple, though they are wealthy and powerful, are the enemies of mankind, and are perhaps among the only human beings that truly deserve death; and sadly they'll be the last ones to suffer for the consequences of their actions.
Unless, of course, the Hindu belief in reincarnation has merit.