ISPs May be Preparing Harsh File Sharing Penalties Backed by Entertainment Industry

Ryan Whitwam

While so-called “three strikes laws” have been passed in several countries to kick those repeatedly accused of copyright infringement off the Internet, Cnet is reporting that some US ISPs are not waiting for the government to impose such a system. Several companies including Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon are reportedly deep in talks with entertainment companies to establish tough punishments for alleged file sharers.

Sources say a final agreement has not been hammered out, but the preliminary rules are looking grim. The plan is being called a “graduated response”, and ISPs would be given some leeway in how they administered it. It would start with written warnings. If the behavior continues, a user may have their bandwidth throttled, their service suspended, or their access limited to just the top 200 websites online. Presumably, the jack-booted thugs would be sent to a subscribers house in the dead of night at some point, but we cannot confirm.

The main issue as described by critics of such plans is that there is no due process. Accusations by content owners are treated as true, and users may be falsely cut off from Internet services. The National Cable and Telecommunications Industry (NCTI) includes many ISPs, and has been involved in the talks with the backing of the US government. So it seems the stars may be aligning for the RIAA and MPAA at long last. The plans may be unveiled in as little as a month. Feel free to vent in the comments.

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