Six-strikes system punishes Internet pirates

by MATT GORDON Editor-in-chief

The six-strikes system, which punishes Internet users for online piracy, is now in effect throughout the country. In basic terms, your Internet provider can now legally spy on your computer usage to detect whether you are illegally downloading copyrighted material.

This system is simple – if an online user is found to have been illegally sharing or pirating movies, music, or other forms of media six times, the user will be punished. The punishment is unknown at the time, but it is rumored that users may be arrested if the pirating is serious enough.

Companies like AT&T and Verizon have already laid out plans to enforce the system, which will affect almost all Internet users in the United States. Many people are outraged at the system since it will violate users online privacy. Others believe that stopping online piracy is not needed.

Junior Hayley Davino said, “It’s impossible to stop everyone from doing it. Even if there is a punishment for it, people will find it a way around it. The law does not really stop them.”

One company that has already put the system in affect is Comcast. According to the company, the first three times an Internet user is caught downloading copyrighted material, a browser pop-up will appear that warns the user of their wrongdoing, but this pop-up can be easily dismissed.

However, the fourth time a user is caught, a pop-up will appear that cannot be dismissed, essentially hijacking the user’s browser. The only way this pop-up can be dismissed is if the user calls a Comcast Customer Security Assurance representative to discuss the matter.

It is unknown what will happen if the user is detected a fifth or sixth time, but the company says that at no point will the user’s account be terminated.

Cablevision also released information on how it will enforce the six-strikes system. After the first four incidents, the company will send an alert that prompts a 14-day appeal period, where the user can appeal the alerts and clear themselves of any wrongdoing. If the user wins this appeal, nothing will happen and the alerts will stop. However, if the user loses the appeal, their Internet access will be shut down for 24 hours.

Also, if the user does not take up an appeal, after the 14 days, they will also lose access for 24 hours. Taking up an appeal will cost an undisclosed amount.

The six-strikes system will hopefully stop some online piracy, but the fight against infringement has only just begun.

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