Six strikes and you’re out.

by Colin McGuire. 0 Comments

Well, now, this is interesting.

Anne Flaherty, of The Associated Press, wrote a story Tuesday and you might be interested in its premise. From the article’s lead …

“Internet users who illegally share music, movies or TV shows online may soon get warning notices from their service providers that they are violating copyright law,” she wrote. Fairly pedestrian, right?

Now, for the money shot:

“Ignore the notices,” Flaherty said, “and violators could face an Internet slow-down for 48 hours. Those who claim they’re innocent can protest — for a fee. For the first time since a spate of aggressive and unpopular lawsuits almost a decade ago, the music and movie industries are going after Internet users they accuse of swapping copyrighted files online. But unlike the lawsuits from the mid-2000s — which swept up everyone from young kids to the elderly with sometimes ruinous financial penalties and court costs — the latest effort is aimed at educating casual Internet pirates and convincing them to stop.”

Ka-blam! says rich white men. Watch our stuff over a blurry rebroadcasted stream from the middle of Austria, tech savvy TV consumers, and cringe as your desire to download “that one song” from the new Katy Perry record will be stifled by the fact that it now takes 439 days to get it done. Take that, nerdy house-dads!

By now, I’m sure you’re wondering which cable providers are the ones behind this mess. And because I love you — the fantastically dressed blog reader who loves binge-watching television— here they are:

Verizon

AT&T

Time Warner Cable 

Comcast

Cablevision

The echo of a massive grunt you just heard in your dining room is the sound of the Frederick masses getting to the fourth company on that list.

This all centers around something called the “six strikes” system, an idea precisely as menacing as it sounds (it’s also noted below as CAS, the Copyright Alert System). The Center for Copyright Information dreamed it up. The above five companies signed on the dotted line.

Wait. You probably want to know what the “six strikes” system is, right?

From Dara Kerr at CNet …

“The CAS has been in the works since 2011 and was scheduled to go into effect last November,Kerr wrote this week“But after a series of delays, including reluctance from ISPs and effects of Hurricane Sandy, the Center for Copyright Information postponed its launch until this year. Under graduated response, or six strikes, entertainment companies will notify a participating ISP that a customer has allegedly been pirating movies or TV shows illegally. The bandwidth provider will then send a notice intended to educate the customer about the consequences of downloading unauthorized content. … Eventually, after six warnings, ISPs can choose to suspend service. Graduated response, however, does not include the termination of service.”

Touche, illegal cord-cutters say (and, let’s be honest — if any of you are actually doing the whole no-cable-TV thing like me, you know that we’ve all dipped our toes in the illegal streaming fire pond every now and then, right?).

So, this is interesting, why?

Well, the reason isn’t necessarily attached to the fact that some people might be forced to endure a slowed-down Internet connection over the course of the next few months while checking out the new Justin Timberlake single (which, by the way … meh). Rather, this matters because it’s now abundantly clear that the big boys care! Again. The big boys care!

Case in point: Remember the days when music labels finally got around to throwing a fit once they realized your 83-year-old grandmother knew how to use Napster? Water-shed doesn’t even begin to do it all justice. From that point on, the music industry went through one of the most important and drastic facelifts any facet of the the entertainment industry has ever seen. In fact, those guys still can’t figure out how to make money off the stuff. Rock stars don’t exist. People don’t buy CDs anymore. Sales are measured more by songs than records. YouTube is now factored into Billboard‘s numbers. Justin Bieber happened. Again. Justin Bieber happened.

It all resulted in this — the minute record company executives conceded to the fact that people were figuring out ways to successfully consume their products without paying for them, the entire music universe was flipped on its head. Thus, I ask you to finish this sentence: The minute Internet service providers conceded to the fact that people were figuring out ways to successfully consume their products without paying for them …

And boom goes the dynamite.

Somewhere, Steve Jobs just smiled.

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