And it's one, two, six strikes you’re out at the old ball game – but the ball game has been delayed. And when I say ballgame, I mean the agreement between rights holders in the United States and Internet service providers which would institute a "six strikes" system for those naughty people that infringe on copyrights while using the Internet…
In an undetermined (at this point) number of months, the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) will begin the process of tracking down copyright infringers as part of an agreement all major U.S. Internet providers struck with the MPAA and RIAA. All of the parties involved eventually agreed to a system where copyright infringers would receive a series of warnings from their service providers telling them that that their behavior is unacceptable and would offer some form of "education" to show those individuals the error of their ways. After six warnings ISPs can decide what kind of action to take against repeat offenders including slowing down connections or temporary disconnections.
The agreement was called "Copyright Alerts" when it was revealed in July of last year and some ISPs were expected to send out the first warnings before the end of 2011. But something happened and that deadline passed by without a peep from all involved. The one thing that was revealed was that there was a new deadline: July 1, 2012, but it looks like that one will be missed too.
Web site TorrentFreak recently asked the CCI about the upcoming target date:
"The dates mentioned in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) are not hard deadlines but were intended to keep us on track to have the Copyright Alert System up and running as quickly as possible and in the most consumer friendly manner possible," a spokesperson told the publication. "We do not intend to launch until we are confident that the program is consumer friendly and able to be implemented in a manner consistent with all of the goals of the MOU. We expect our implementation to begin later this year."
The CCI went on to tell the publication that the group has selected a third-party company that will be responsible for monitoring BitTorrent swarms, but did not reveal the name of that company.
"The technology partner we have identified and begun working with is an independent and impartial expert and we expect to have an announcement about the independent expert shortly," TorrentFreak was told.
This could be why the six strikes plan has been delayed, because the unnamed technology partner is being doubly scrutinized to make sure their data collection methods are accurate.
On a related note, TorrentFreak contacted Verizon, one of the service providers that signed onto the agreement. The company did not divulge what punishment it will use against infringing subscribers, but it did say this:
"Verizon has always said that copyright infringement is wrong and through this voluntary consumer friendly system, we believe we can educate our consumers and offer them access to legal alternatives," the company told TorrentFreak. "We believe this program offers the best approach to the problem of illegal file sharing and, importantly, is one that respects the privacy and rights of our subscribers. It also provides a mechanism for helping people to find many great sources of legal content."
At the end of the day the CCI said that none of the ISPs involved plan to permanently terminate subscriber accounts.