New information leaked from AT&T reveals that the major Internet service provider will start warning customers who are being monitored for illegally downloading copyrighted files beginning on Nov. 28, which is now seen as the unofficial start date for the telecoms' six-strike policy to combat online piracy.
The documents, obtained by Torrent Freak, also detail AT&T’s intention to block a customer’s access to his or her most visited websites until they sign an acknowledgement that they’ve been notified that copyrighted material has been illegally downloaded to their computer.
The six-strike effort has been heavily lobbied for by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) ever since the SOPA/PIPA bills failed to pass Congress last year.
Time Warner Cable, Verizon, Comcast and Cablevision will join AT&T in the six-strike effort, which will attempt to stop Internet users from illegally downloading music and movies -- not by hreatening lawsuits but through educational materials.
It’s unknown if the other four companies will employ the same tactics, but Torrent Freak reported that the leaked documents provide some insight into how AT&T executives are approaching the situation.
“In an effort to assist content owners with combating online piracy, AT&T will be sending alert emails to customers who are identified as having been downloading copyrighted content without authorization from the copyright owner,” the documents reportedly read.
“The reports are made by the content owners and are of IP-addresses that are associated with copyright infringing activities. AT&T will not share any personally identifiable information about its customers with content owners until authorized by the customer or required to do so by law.”
The material does not specifically mention the method AT&T will use to prevent customers from surfing online but did note that “access to many of the most frequently visited websites is restricted.” Early information suggests that customers will be disallowed from visiting their favorite sites until acknowledging via email or checkbox in a pop-up that their IP address had been flagged.
Based on Alexa’s list of the most popular websites, AT&T customers who are found to have downloaded illegal media could be blocked from sites like Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, Wikipedia and any others that they frequent most often. If the upcoming restrictions only allow AT&T to block sites that host copyrighted material -- many of which are maintained internationally -- customers could face life without the Pirate Bay, Kick Ass Torrents or IsoHunt, among many others.
Earlier this week, Wired published a report from Center for Copyright Information outlining how the six-strike plan will be enacted. Among descriptions of how copyright theft hurts content owners, and describing how the six-strikes program will be assessed, the report also mentioned that ISPs have no legal obligation to enforce the new policy.
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