Six Incredibly Predictable Results of ‘Six Strikes…’

Last month, we marveled at how the ISPs effectively de-fanged ‘three-strikes,’ and replaced it with a far softer ‘six-strikes’ instead.

Then again, the powerful oligopoly that controls broadband access in the US is better financed, better coordinated, and just smarter than the recording industry (and maybe Hollywood as well).

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Which brings us to the Copyright Alert System, now going into effect across these United States.  Big labels will flag accounts suspected of P2P swapping, and letters and education campaigns will soon follow.  But accounts will be throttled or temporarily redirected, not disconnected.  “Consumers whose accounts have been used to share copyrighted content over P2P networks illegally (or without authority) will receive Alerts that are meant to educate rather than punish, and direct them to legal alternatives,” Jill Lesser of the administering Center for Copyright Information (CCI) blogged.

But haven’t we seen this story before?  Yes, we have: here are six fairly predictable outcomes of the ‘Six Strikes’ initiative…

1. P2P file-sharing volumes will decrease.

Actually, file-sharing volumes already are decreasing, but this will further the trend.  That’s the learning from major markets like the UK and France, where most file-swappers are casual and easily scared by a threatening letter (or three).

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In Just 3 Years, P2P Usage Has Dropped 35% In France…

What happens next is the far more difficult question.

2. Recorded music sales (on iTunes, CD, Amazon, etc.) are unlikely to increase.

That’s been the fallout from the harsher HADOPI in France, where marked drops in P2P volumes failed to create an upswing in paid downloads or CD sales.  The reason is that consumers are in the midst of a far broader format and consumption shift, one that offers a range of complex options along the paid-to-free spectrum.

3. ISPs will not lose meaningful numbers of subscribers.

Broadband access is the fastest-growing and most lucrative segment for massive cable companies (ie, Comcast, Time Warner, etc.), and often the most important component of a triple- or quadruple-play package.  These are extremely-profitable segments that spin billions every quarter, and a major cushion against cable cord-cutting.

All of which means that mega-powerful companies like Comcast and Time Warner are extremely uninterested in triggering user churn by creating an anti-piracy police state.  A bone to the RIAA and Hollywood is one thing, widespread churn is another.

4. If there is an adverse impact on churn, the ISPs will take measures to further soften the program.

They don’t need guns, they have lawyers and lobbyists.  It’s worked in the past.

5. Alternative methods of free, illegal acquisition, like lockers, direct site downloads, and private trackers will increase (depending on what is monitored).

Kim Dotcom says some of the biggest spikes on MEGA are coming out of France (and Spain).  Any questions?

6. The effect on platforms like Spotify will be difficult to measure (but molded into a success story by groups like the RIAA).

The world isn’t Sweden, and it’s still unclear how markets like the US will embrace streaming platforms.  Undoubtedly subscription-based streaming will improve, but how much of that will be the result of six strikes?

34 Responses

    • wallow-T

      7. Wrongly-accused ISP customers will create bad-publicity news stories.
      8. Once the format of legitimate “Six Strikes” notices is known, scammers will copy that content and insert a demand for money.
      9. Activists will start to reverse-engineer the monitoring system to find out where it is prone to mistakes.

  1. Visitor

    7. Pirate will get sued:
    “Commenting on this largely overlooked aspect, CCI director Jill Lesser confirmed to TorrentFreak that lawsuits may indeed be initiated based on information collected under the program.”
    “The Content Owner Representatives [MPAA / RIAA] or any other member of the Participating Content Owners Group may use such reports or data as the basis for seeking a Subscriber’s identity through a subpoena or order or other lawful process. For the avoidance of doubt, the Parties agree that the Content Owner Representatives may share such reports with the other members of the Participating Content Owners Group..”
    Similar measures are already possible today, but…
    “While it is true that the MPAA and RIAA can use monitoring companies to track alleged infringers, from a legal perspective they have a much stronger case when it’s done as part of the copyright alert system.
    For example, getting the data from ISPs allows copyright holders to say with certainty that certain accounts were used for multiple infringements, as ISPs will connect dynamic IP-addresses to the correct account holders.”

    • Visitor

      Hopefully we will have more Jamie Thomases. Many, many more.

      • Visitor

        Sorry, you try too hard if you want to sound like a content provider.
        Nobody want’s to sue illegal downloaders for more than $200 or so per infringement.
        That’s what Thomas was offered, and I think most people will agree it’s fair…

    • Vsitor

      Who is going to pay for these lawsuits? Despite the common belief, the RIAA is not a bottomless pit when it comes to money

      • Visitor

        The vast majority of thieves will settle out of court as ususal…

        • Visitor

          Yes. Although it takes lawyers to handle all the paperwork. Even if it doesn’t go to court, settling is still very expensive.

  2. rikki

    I really dont care the RIAA never sues Black people never has and never will….
    You mean they cant find people who download songs in Newark Camden Detroit south central Oakland Far Rockaway?
    PS: Jammie Thomas’s home town is 96% WHITE… gary Indiana?

    • Anonymous Coward

      Sounds racist, unless you have data to back that up?

      • rikki

        Its racist if its not the truth…. find me a college that gets money from the United Negro college fund that got sued, but the U of washinton with 2 % black did…same with North dakota, lots of black people there too….
        Ebay has allowed selling of rap and hip hop undergorund mashup mp3’s in hard drives for years…..but try and sell mp3’s of the beatles or any classic rock band….ebay will ban you
        Same with CL you can buy all the illegal mp3’s on hard drives….yup black people know they wont get prosecuted….
        Just look on google find the black people who got sued….keep looking……..keep looking……………keep looking
        No different then ohbahhma going after people at gun shows when he knows full well Black people never go to gun shows!!!

  3. A

    So problems i see with it is the no appeal without paying $$$. The complete removal of our privacy in regards to internet use and whether a company can just start giving you less than the service both of you agreed to…. i mean i could see them refusing to let you continue after the month but just starting to throttle seems a little less than legal and i doubt they would do so if they didnt have such monopolies on internet providing.

    • Casey

      I see nothing that indicates a removal of privacy. They are not going to browse through our activity. They are going to simply react to DMCAs when sent instead of putting them in the paper shreader.

      There is nothing illegal about this. We are renting access to the ISP’s network. They always have and always will be the one that decides how they operate their network. If they choose to throttle users, that is perfectly within their rights. The contracts we sign are extremely open ended and give them nearly unlimited rights. They could go as far as to cancel our service and charge us an early termination fee. There is an ISP who does just that.

      • AnAmusedGeek

        This logic isn’t exactly bullet proof… Licensing doesnt necessarily consumers ‘just have to put up with it’.
        I get especially irked as software licenses that try to overstep the bounds of whats legal, let alone whats reasonable. Certain rights can NOT be waiver in certain countries no matter what you sign.
        This is becoming more and more common with software wanting to track your every move and mine every bit of data about you to sell to advertising companies.
        Just because you rent, doesnt mean you have no rights. There are rules for the landlords too.

        • Casey

          But it is not like that in the US. In the US, ISPs have much more power than people know. There are very few privacy laws in the US that apply to ISPs. And unless a law specifies that you have the right, you don’t. Even Net Neutrality is unlikely to stand up in court. Private infrastructure means they make the rules. Verizon has armies of lawyers. As does At&t. If anyone thinks this decision was made lightly, they best think again. The ISPs clearly know what liabilites they face and what they don’t. They are not the least bit concerned. And since At&t made it against their contract to sue in a class action, that makes them even more safe.
          Maybe this will be a wakeup call to Americans. While they were busy watching sports on the couch their ISPs were lobbying in Washington giving them unparalled power. As have MANY companies and interest groups.

      • rikki

        Right there is nothing Illegal about this unless its not applied equally among the races…..will white suburban users be treated the same as black ghetto inner city peeps? Thats the only way to fight this is on racial grounds.

    • Visitor

      “So problems i see with it is the no appeal without paying $$$”
      …a very modest amount that you’ll get back if you’re innocent…

    • Visitor

      No, you have to distinguish between Google’s piracy search engine and Google’s video service:
      Illegal files are allowed and encouraged on the search engine, but they are instantly removed or monetized on the video site and repeated infringers are banned.

      • Visitor

        You are being sarcastic yes? Sometimes it is ahrd to tell

      • Visitor

        Which doesn’t work on companies that are foreign based….

        • Visitor

          Foreign? 🙂
          All countries have copyright laws. Most have signed the Berne Convention. And a growing number of states are going to participate in the unprecedented war on piracy that starts right now across the globe…

          • Visitor

            You live under a rock. Swiss VPNs, which are becoming extremely popular, don’t give a damn about copyright.

          • Visitor

            Like I said, a growing number of states are going to participate in the new initiatives…

          • Visitor

            Switzerland is not a state.
            It only takes 1 country not participating.

          • Visitor

            “It only takes 1 country not participating”
            Good luck finding it (and you can forget about Switzerland). Gonna take an expensive amount of trial & error.
            And bear in mind that only torrentfreaks want to support rogue anti-american regimes and dictatorships.

          • Visitor

            ” Gonna take an expensive amount of trial & error”
            Sort of like trying to find good major label music on CD!

  4. InLA

    Two decades of greedy music industry “professionals” (mostly lawyers and accountants and the rest of the people who turned the art of music into a money-thirsty meatgrinder) have tried everything in their power to preserve the monopoly that they have so carefully created and nourished in the 80’s and 90’s. Meanwhile technology has enabled dozens of new completely legal ways for the consumption of entertainment that are bound to completely clear even the tiniest of remains of the once so solid and proud $20-per-CD fortress.
    There is no other future for the distribution of recorded music than:
    a) fee-based subscription streaming
    b) free streaming backed by advertising dollars.

    It’s all a matter of the availability of wireless data volumes and in that area things don’t look too great for the music industry.
    And no, nobody should expect to make $100 million from one song anymore. It is just never ever happening again. That contradicts all existing laws of the free market. The monopoly has been broken and what we are seeing since year 2000 is not the “decline of the music industry” but simply the free market putting the music industry in its right place.

    • Visitor

      “things don’t look too great for the music industry”
      Huh? 🙂
      Here are some of the results from the first internationally coordinated war on piracy, ever:
      Blocked piracy sites all over Europe… 6 Strikes in the US… fines in Japan, New Zealand, Russia… huge fines to illegal file-sharing site admins… new initiatives on their way in France & elsewhere… lots of lockers & torrent sites shut down after the fall of MegaUpload… growing pressure on credit card companies, Google and others to completely cut off criminal sites.
      We can’t stop all IP theft, but we can get rid of mainstream piracy.
      And when we do that, we’ll get rid of a significant part of the streaming sites as well.
      The Piracy Decade is over — here’s the new business model:
      Sell your music!

  5. doktor audio

    this “visitor” guy is that the same person talking to himself all the time? i’m quite confused