AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T), one of the largest IP-based communications and 4G and Wi-Fi network service providers in the United States, intensified its effort in combating online piracy.
The company will start sending electronic warnings to customers whose accounts indicate activities of downloading or distributing illegal music, movies, or television shows over peer-to-peer networks next month.
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Jill Lesser, executive director of the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) explained that the accounts of subscribers who receive repeated warnings (six strikes) for copyright violations will be flagged, and their Internet speed will be reduced temporarily. In addition, they will be required to learn and understand important information about copyright laws. According to Lesser, the actions against customers suspected of violating copyrights do not include account termination.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPIAA) and Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) established the Center for Copyright Infringement (CCI) last year, to coordinate the anti piracy program with the Internet service providers (ISP) in the United States.
“If this is successful, it really reduces the need to have government involvement in these issues. These voluntary efforts allow us to be far more nimble and customer-focused than broad legislation,” according to Lesser, as written in the Bloomberg report.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is one of the five major Internet service providers, including Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC), and Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE:CVC) that joined the anti piracy program.
A related report from Security Week cited the objected of AT&T in launching the copyright alert system on November 28 based on the company’s internal training documents obtained by TorrentFreak.
The overview of the documents read, “In an effort to assist content owners with combating on-line piracy, AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) will be sending alert e-mails to customers who are identified as having downloaded copyrighted content without authorization from the copyright owner.”
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC), and Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE:CVC) are expected to implement the copyright alert system on the same date.
The MPIAA & RIAA initiated the copyright alert system after the United States House of Representatives and the Senate failed to pass the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) respectively. The proposed bills were supported MPIAA & RIAA.
The lawmakers deferred the legislation of the proposed anti piracy bills, after Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Wikipedia led the Internet industry and consumers in opposing the bill. Political support from both sides collapsed.
The Internet industry is against the provision in the bill authorizing the Department of Justice (DOJ) to seek court orders that would force ISPs, search engines, payment processors, and online ad networks to block, or stop doing business with owners of websites outside the U.S. suspected of committing copyright infringement.