After Six Strikes, Verizon Will ‘Throttle’ Infringing Accounts for 2-3 Days…

So, this is what the major recording labels are paying the RIAA millions to accomplish? After years of negotiations and lobbying, US-based access providers are not only refusing to cut the cord on repeat infringers, they’re offering one of the lightest wrist slaps imaginable.

Here’s the outline of penalties that Verizon broadband and FiOS subscribers will receive, according to a draft memo leaked to Torrentfreak (Verizon confirmed the memo was real, other ISPs seem to be pursuing rough variations).

“The Verizon Copyright Alert Program”

Strikes 1-2

Emails, voicemails alerting user of copyright owner complaints.

“Notify you that one or more copyright owners have reported that they believe your account has been involved in possible copyright infringement activity.

“Provide a link to information on how to check to see if file-sharing software is operating on your computer (and how to remove it) and tell you where to find information on obtaining content legally.”

Strikes 3-4

User redirected to anti-infringement page, forced to watch pro-copyright video.

“Require you to click on an ‘acknowledgement’ button before you will be able to freely browse the internet.  Clicking the acknowledgement button does not require you to admit that you or anyone else actually engaged in any infringing activity, only that you have received the alert.”

Strikes 5-6

User directed to same page and video, internet speeds reduced to 256kbps for up to three days.

“Redirect your browser to a special web page, where you will be given several options.  You can:

(a) agree to an immediate temporary (2 to 3 day) reduction in the speed of your internet access service to 256kbps (a little faster than typical dial-up speed);

(b) agree to the same temporary reduction (2 or 3 day) in speed but delay for a period of 14 days;

(c) ask for a review of the validity of your alerts by the American Arbitration Association (AAA).  There is a $35 review fee (that you will get back if you win).  For subscribers that meet certain need-based eligibility criteria, the review fee will be waived by the AAA.”

Strikes 7+

No additional punishments from Verizon.  Possible referral of IP address to the RIAA and MPAA (this is not confirmed).

21 Responses

  1. Jaded Industry Dude

    Whatever, this would have solved piracy if it was implemented 12 years ago. Even though it’s too late to even matter at this point, I say bravo. Scare tactics work on the vast majority, as they don’t realize that they’re really harmless threats that lead to nothing. Point being, if you tell someone to stop pirating music via a fancy C&D letter, odds are they will stop.

    You won’t get the knowledgably pirates to stop, but you’ll get my cousins to buy some more music instead of ‘sticking it to those big corporations blah blah blah’ aka ‘i have no idea what I’m talking about and since no one is stopping me from downloading, I will continue to do it all I want’

    Even my GF uses that excuse, to which I say “NO” and make her buy it off Amazon cause she’s a big girl who doesn’t need to act like a child in regards to pirating music/movies/books…

    You honestly think someone with little knowledge of how technology works would continue pirating after a few threats by their ISP? Ha. FFS, back in the day, when I was a young idiot warez haxx0r, Time Warner told me to stop downloading 30 Rock and guess what I did? I stopped downloading 30 Rock. I knew it was an empty threat from Time Warner but it made me realize you can’t get away with murder and to support good music, tv, and movies, whether you want to or not. Go read a book at the library if you can’t afford to download a legal copy of Louie off Amazon. Or download Spotify-Free for that new Bruno Mars CD you want to steal so bad.

    • FarePlay

      It isn’t too late, but we’ve certainly lost a great deal of time and money depending on lawyers and technology to solve the problem.

      Piracy is a devastating personal problem for hundreds of thousands of people working in music and film.

      All awareness campaigns are worthwhile; the most valuable being artists speaking out, reaching out and letting their fans know how critical their support is for their SURVIVAL.

      I’m continually amazed as I talk to politically savvy individuals how little they know about piracy.

      Thank-you Verizon.

      Keep talking everyone…….

      • Visitor

        “Piracy is a devastating personal problem for hundreds of thousands of people working in music and film”

        According to Unesco, 10 billion Euros and 185,000 jobs were lost 2008 because of piracy in the EU.


        According to Institute for Policy Innovation, $58 billion and 373,000 jobs were lost in 2007 because of piracy in the US.


        Siwek, Stephen E.,The True Cost of Piracy to the U.S. Economy, report for the Institute for Policy Innovation, Oct. 2007.

        It’s beyond me how anybody can defend the organized crime organizations behind these numbers…

  2. Visitor

    “Possible referral of IP address to the RIAA and MPAA”

    That’s the part I’m hoping for. I want to see the courts flooded with pirates getting served some hard cold justice. Please oh please jail time & massive fines for pirates!

    • Visitor

      “Please oh please jail time & massive fines for pirates!”

      Nah, content owners don’t want pirates to go to jail.

      But fines are fine. 🙂

      And yes, a lot of pirates are going to pay now.

      The irony is that SOPA, PIPA and — especially — ACTA would have gone after organized crime sites, instead of individual thieves.

      But Google got off the hook and let its users pay…

    • Casey

      Have you ever known a single person to get 6+ copyright violations over the last 10 years? Even the heaviest and stupidest of pirates? I don’t, and I know a lot of pirates. You are looking into something that isn’t really there.

  3. Roger Bixley

    All this is going to accomplish is widespread adoption of VPN proxies. The RIAA/MPAA won’t be able to match the downloads to an American ISP’s IP address, and it’ll just drive everyone deeper underground. A few P2P users will get caught, but hardcore users will just simply use tools to hide themselves better.

    • Visitor

      “but hardcore users will just simply use tools to hide themselves better.”

      right, and if we were only dealing with “hardcore users” we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    • Visitor

      “hardcore users will just simply use tools to hide themselves better”

      But of course they will. 🙂

      See, these initiatives are not aimed at paranoid hardcore criminals.

      You can’t reach these guys. And nobody’s trying to.

      This is aimed at ordinary people!

      And it will work. Ordinary people don’t want to be criminals. They don’t want to spend all their time and money on theft. They have jobs, families, friends and ordinary lives, and they don’t want — or need — to risk it all for a stolen song.

      And don’t forget that pirates DO risk it all now!

      Here is the most ignored and yet most important part of CCI’s FAQ:

      “It is important to note that ISPs never provide any personally identifiable information to copyright holders – as part of the alert process or for any other reason – without a properly issued subpoena or court order under current law.”

      And I’ll assure that you that properly issued subpoenas will fall as gentle summer rain this year…

      • Visitor

        …forgot to link to the source of the quote above.

        Here goes. Do read it — it can seriously affect your future:

      • jw

        Curious as to what this means. To acquire a subpoena/court order, wouldn’t a rights holder need some degree of evidence of a copyright violation? i.e. an IP address? And if that’s the case, how is that any different from how things currently are? Rights holders have always been able to get personally identifiable information from an ISP w/ a subpoena/court order. They just stopped going through the trouble.

        It doesn’t sound to me like rights holders can get a subpoena for something like “users with x violations.” Am I misunderstanding that correctly? Seems like they would have to have specific violations related to their specific content before they could get a subpoena. And that involves catching folks in the act, same as it always did.

        • Casey

          There does not seem to be any differences. They can’t ignore a subpoena. But they never have.

  4. Casey

    As I have said before, this is the 6 strikes and nothing happens policy. Only minor annoyances. And how do you get a strike? Well you must be caught first. And pretty much the only way of getting caught is through the use of torrents and file-sharing software. Wake up people! That doesn’t do anything! Those are the oldest ways of pirating. People have been migrating to other sources for a long time. File lockers such as Dropbox. Downloading content illegally from youtube. Newsgroups. This doesn’t catch the average pirate, it catches the stupid pirate. And after 1 strike, they will become educated. Just like they have done on Mediacom. They are going to either switch to a method where they are very unlikely to get caught, or start usaing a VPN. VPN’s are dirt cheap and extremely easy to use.

    • jw

      I think that the average downloader is more likely to switch to Spotify than to purchase a VPN. Honestly, I don’t think very many people are going to switch to VPN at all.

      File lockers… I wonder how much piracy actually happens there. I wouldn’t begin to know where to find a repository of material to download via Dropbox. It seems like that would have to be isolated, private networks.

      And downloading from youtube just seems like much more trouble than it’s worth for transcoded audio.

      I think that piracy could easily sidestep this system. But I’m not sure anyone is really motivated at this point. I’m sure something like Dropbox could be leveraged to really effectively share files. But why bother when there’s Spotify?

      More & more I’m finding it difficult to find stuff that’s not on Spotify. And this has to do in part with independent releases, but it also has to do with downloading losing steam, certainly the organized portions of it, at least.

      I think downloading served it’s purpose & is in the midst of running it’s course.

      • Casey

        There is that. I think Spotify could see significant growth from ISPs implementing 6 strikes. A well places marketing campaign, as a way to avoid possible strikes could bring in countless subscribers.

    • Visitor

      “VPN’s are dirt cheap and extremely easy to use”

      A lot of you guys are in for a nasty surprise…

      • Casey

        Really? Please explain. I have not only used VPNs, I have created them. They are very effective. Even weak VPNs are enough to serve their purpose. It is illegal for an ISP to break the encryption and read the contents.

        • Visitor

          “I have not only used VPNs, I have created them”

          That explains a lot.

          Casey, repeat after me: There is no privacy on the internet.

          • Visitor

            VPNs are used for many purposes, including transmitting highly confidential business information. It is possible to encrypt data strongly enough to create that privacy from point A to point B. There is no such thing as privacy when you torrent, no doubt. But privacy can exist for other purposes using the internet.