If you are using AT&T as your service provider and you are accused of copyright infringement by a rights holder, you could end up losing your internet access if you don't pay attention to the notices the company sends you as part of its compliance with the "six strikes" system to fight copyright infringement online.
As uncovered by TorrentFreak recently, AT&T has been sending customers accused of copyright infringement with notices containing the following small print:
"Through the Copyright Alert Program, users are given an opportunity to understand and change behavior that may be resulting in Copyright Alerts. However, if they receive multiple Copyright Alerts, they may encounter corrective action — or mitigation measures — which may limit or inhibit Internet access."
Under the guidelines of the "six strikes" scheme adopted by many U.S. Internet service providers, those suspected of copyright infringement will get up to six notifications before the ISPs take corrective action. This could ultimately lead to disconnection.
Letters being sent are at the request of a copyright owner who has identified a suspected copyright infringement at the recipient’s IP address. As a number of courts in the United States have determined, finding an infringement at an IP is a long leap from proving that the owner of the IP has actually infringed on something. Basically all it takes to get the ball rolling is an accusation.
AT&T claims that the recipient of these "six strikes" notices do not have their name and identifying information shared with rights holders, "except as required by a lawful request for records." That's a pretty vague explanation by anyone's measure.
AT&T also tells those that receive notices that the company has not taken any action to date, and that "we’ll let you know when mitigation measures are pending, should any be necessary." The notice also states that users may request an "Independent Review" and that those who have been accused should save any documentation that might help prove that your use of the content in question was non-infringing.
The notice almost always contain a link to educational materials about copyright – www.copyrightinformation.org.