Hurricane Sandy Blows Out “Six Strikes” Anti-Piracy Measures, For Now


Plans to launch a big crackdown on illegal piracy in the US have been shelved for the time being, thanks to an unlikely culprit in the form of Hurricane Sandy.

The Center for Copyright Information (CCI) organization, which was established to coordinate the highly publicized “six strikes” copyright enforcement scheme, says that damage caused by the storm has severely hampered its testing schedule. As a result, the scheme – due to launch before the end of the year – has been pushed back to until next year at the earliest.

The plan, which is being jointly coordinated by Time Warner, Verizon, Comcast, AT&T and Cablevision, involves ISPs sending out ‘copyright alerts’ to customers that are believed to be infringing copyright. Under the system, customers will effectively be given five chances to stop what they’re doing – should they receive a sixth alert, they’ll automatically become subject to a series of repressive measures aimed at putting a stop to their piracy.

Somewhat cynically, the CCI is billing its system as an ‘educational service’, yet the punishments its threatening to mete out would seem anything but. These included bandwidth throttling, restricting access to certain websites, and in the worst cases of repeat offenders, suspension of their internet service. Mercifully though, the organization says that all customers will be able to appeal against any punishments imposed on them.

Another aspect of the system is that the ISPs will also pass on information regarding copyright thieves to content providers as well, meaning that offenders could be faced with punishments of a different, legal nature.

Good news then that none of this is going to happen – at least not for the moment. Thanks to Sandy, the alerts have been delayed for at least “several months”, says the CCI:

“Our goal has always been to implement the program in a manner that educates consumers about copyright and peer-to-peer networks, encourages the use of legal alternatives, safeguards customer privacy, and provides an easy-to-use independent review program for consumers to challenge alerts they believe they’ve received in error.”

“We need to be sure that all of our ‘I’s are dotted and ‘T’s crossed before any company begins sending alerts, and we know that those who are following our progress will agree.”