This is way different than the softball ‘Six Strikes’ that Comcast and ISPs agreed to. And, if it happens, it could have a very real and demonstrable impact on piracy in the United States.
Here’s what’s being discussed: instead of sending toothless letters while keeping connections intact, Variety reports that Comcast is now working with major television and Hollywood studios to automatically detect infringement on its pipes. And, instantly present paid, legitimate opportunities to subscribers, all in real-time.
“As sources described the new system, a consumer illegally downloading a film or movie from a peer-to-peer system would be quickly pushed a pop-up message with links to purchase or rent the same content, whether the title in question exists on the VOD library of a participating distributor’s own broadband network or on a third-party seller like Amazon.”
Comcast, which carries massive marketshare and sway in both access and cable, is also attempting to corral support from other ISPs.
This isn’t the first time that file-swapping has been used to generate legal leads. Altnet, which rode on top of Kazaa, remains one of the biggest examples, though the experiments have largely flopped.
And one of the major reasons is that those seeking content for free are typically already aware of paid alternatives. They simply don’t want to pay.
One question is what this all means for the Copyright Alert System, aka Six Strikes. Variety reports that the Comcast initiative is separate, but Six Strikes may ultimately face serious modifications or even be supplanted by the Comcast carrot approach.
The proposed system itself is apparently under consideration and development, and appears far from primetime. Still, the presence of Comcast, which controls roughly 40 percent of the broadband market, could dramatically change piracy in the US.