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Major U.S. ISPs Set to Slap Copyright Infingers with Graduated Punishments

Some of the United States’ top Internet service providers, including AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, are set to adopt a new, harsher strategy to handle software piracy. The final agreement between the ISPs and media and entertainment outlets has yet to be signed, but the proposal, which is expected to be reached sometime next month, would have the ISPs adopt a “graduated response,” which is fancy talk for punishments that become harsher as infringers are caught repeating the offense.

The plan outlines various punishments from which the ISPs can choose, including throttling bandwidth speed or limiting web access — something this blogger remembers being enacted on some of his peers around his dorm back in college. Almost hilariously, an example given regarding limiting an infringer’s web access would have the ISP limit said access in such a way where the infinger could only access the top 200 websites until the infringer proves he or she stopped with the piracy. Another awful-sounding punishment would require the infringer to participate in a program that educates them on why piracy and copyright infringement is bad, similar to the course taken when nailed with a traffic ticket. Luckily for both ISPs trying to run a business and copyright infingers who’d like to keep their service, the proposal does not currently require the ISPs to kick infringers off their service.

If implemented, the proposal could have a fairly drastic effect on the piracy community, but as anyone who has been following software piracy over the years knows, pirates tend to be some of the cleverest, quickest-acting people on the Internet, and one can only assume they would eventually find a clever way around ISP monitoring. For more detail on the proposal, check out CNET’s coverage.

(via CNET)

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