AT&T Starts Cracking Down on Infringement on Its Network — With Actual Account Terminations

ISPs have typically given infringing users endless ‘strikes’ while rarely disconnecting accounts.  But according to a new report, AT&T will start cracking down on suspected pirates in a more serious way.

Starting next week, the multinational conglomerate will remove over a dozen customers from its service.  The unnamed subscribers have reportedly violated copyrights multiple times, stealing content through its network.

Speaking with Fortune, an AT&T spokesperson explained the company had received notices from multiple copyright owners.  Users had “in some way” violated their copyrights.  Then, the company identified the pirates and will now take them off its network.

Content owners notified us when they believed they had evidence that an internet account was sharing copyrighted material unlawfully.  Based on the notices we received, we identified the customer on the account and share with them the information we received.  We also reached out to the customer to educate them about copyright infringement and offer assistance to help prevent the activity from continuing.

“A small number of customers who continue to receive additional copyright infringement notifications from content owners despite our efforts to educate them, will have their service discontinued.

This marks the first time AT&T has removed pirates from its network over piracy concerns in over a year.

Previously, the conglomerate had instituted a ‘nine strikes’ policy.  AT&T would notify users suspected of illegally downloading copyrighted content before ultimately kicking them off its network.  Even then, it’s unclear how long the customers were expelled.

That type of approach isn’t isolated.  Previously, we’ve documented lax policies at other major ISPs, most notably Cox Communications.  The company was outed in litigation for blatantly disregarding DMCA statutes.

The AT&T crackdown also comes after the conglomerate completed its purchase of Time Warner, rebranding that company WarnerMedia.

This purchase has allowed the multinational conglomerate to operate as a major entertainment and content company.

Speaking with Axios, which first published the news, a source claimed that it remained unclear WarnerMedia was involved in issuing piracy allegations.

AT&T didn’t disclose where it had received the copyright claims from.  With millions of users on its network, the company has rarely kicked suspected pirates off its network.  Yet, as the conglomerate completes its transformation, it appears ready to play nicer with the entertainment industry.


Featured image by AT&T.