‘Six Strikes': The Lowdown On The Crackdown On Illegal Downloads

Internet Piracy: Fun, Easy, and Illegal! (Getty Images)

Internet Piracy: Fun, Easy, and Illegal! (Getty Images)

Filing sharing, while an exciting alternative to paying for season three of The Walking Dead, is actually quite illegal. On Monday, major internet providers, in partnership with the entertainment industry, implemented the “Copyright Alert System,” or “six strikes” system, to combat online piracy. The impoverished film and recording industries say theft of movies and music results in billions of dollars in lost revenue each year. The time has come to stop living on the edge of the law, lest you be throttled.

Everyone’s favorite service provider, Time Warner, will temporarily suspend the Internet service of alleged copyright violators until they call a helpline, wait for 90 minutes while listening to a recording tell them how important their call is to Time Warner before then speaking to a skilled customer service representative who will make people pinky swear that they will stop pirating copyrighted material. Subscribers to Verizon will receive a series of alerts, which critics call “six strikes,” until the company chokes the life out of your Internet speed.

In a departure from earlier attempts to stop pirating, industry groups including the Recording Industry of America and Motion Picture Association of America seek to educate and alert copyright violators with the new system before pursuing litigation. In the early 2000s, content providers launched tens of thousands of lawsuits against individual users. Most chose to accept settlements in order to avoid court, but one defiant downloader who decided to fight got slapped with $675,000 in damages for downloading a bunch of Green Day, Nirvana, and Limp Bizkit when he was in high school—but it was totally worth it, man!

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