updated 04:33 pm EST, Mon February 25, 2013
New user monitoring system powered by error-prone MarkMonitor
As expected, the Center for Copyright Information's BitTorrent monitoring system has launched, but with all five previously-announced ISPs starting up in one day. Participating ISPs in the measure, also known as "six strikes," include Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, Cablevision, and Time Warner, plus all subsidiaries of the parent companies.
There is no set policy across ISPs for repeat offenders. According to reports, Verizon's first and second warnings are provided by "email and automatic voicemail" to tell the subscriber that it is thought that the account has been involved in possible copyright infringement activity. The third and fourth alerts redirect the customer's browser to a special web page where the user can "review and acknowledge" receiving the alerts, as well as providing a short video about copyright law and the consequences of copyright infringement. The fifth and sixth alerts will be responded to by a two- or three-day reduction in internet speed to 256kbit up and down, what the ISP calls "just faster than dial-up."
Time Warner Cable has a similar graduated response as Verizon, but the fifth and six alerts will not see a reduction in speed, but a mandatory landing page with educational materials and limitations on what sites the user can visit, but no information is available on this restriction at this time.
AT&T's mitigation measures start at the fourth warning with customers redirected to an educational page, along with a brief "online educational tutorial" on copyright when the user hits "certain websites." Whereas Verizon has said that they would not automatically turn over subscriber information to copyright holders, AT&T's document suggests that it will and "after the fifth alert, the content owner may pursue legal action against the customer, and may seek a court order requiring AT&T to turn over personal information to assist the litigation," which wouldn't be possible if AT&T didn't hand the data over.
Critics say that the system will only stop casual pirates, and leave the more "dedicated" file sharers untouched. The Center for Copyright Information chief has acknowledged that "yes, there are ways around it, and yes there are other ways to pirate," when some of the other piracy methods were discussed at a round table discussion. Curiously, she added that "hardcore" pirates were not the target of this system.
Centurylink, Charter, Cox, and Sonic.net are amongst the larger ISPs not participating in the "Six Strikes" mechanism. Dane Jasper, CEO of Sonic.net told TorrentFreak that he thought "history has shown that you cannot solve piracy by force, but that industries need to adapt around it with business models that allow consumers to access the content they want easily and at a not-unreasonable cost." Cox officials say that the company is not participating in the initiative for "internal reasons."
The software performing the monitoring of BitTorrent traffic for the Center for Copyright Information has seen some problems. MarkMonitor, the underpinning of the system, has flagged HBO.com as in violation of the DMCA for violations of its own content -- an obvious failure of the system, and not the first such incident. The report sent to Google stated that HBO.com was using HBO's own cable content without permission. Additionally, the same automated report to the search engine named websites that were writing about HBO content (as in reviews of shows, criticism, or promotion), and thus clearly not violating "fair use" provisions of the law.