The RIAA Is Watching...You

Beginning July 12, 2012 a number of the USA's largest Internet Service Providers including Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon, Time Warner Cable and others will begin enforcing an RIAA crackdown on people who download music, movies and software for free from sites and services that do not have the right to distribute copyrighted material. Pirates. Arrr.

According to CNET, infringers will be given a series of warnings before the ISP takes action,

The program, commonly referred to as "graduated response," requires that ISPs send out one or two educational notices to those customers who are accused of downloading copyrighted content illegally. If the customer doesn't stop, the ISP is then asked to send out "confirmation notices" asking that they confirm they have received notice.

At that time, the accused customers will also be informed of the risks they incur if they don't stop pirating material. If the customer is flagged for pirating again, the ISP can then ratchet up the pressure. Participating ISPs can choose from a list of penalties, or what the RIAA calls "mitigation measures," which include throttling down the customer's connection speed and suspending Web access until the subscriber agrees to stop pirating.

Kind of like a substance abuse policy (see the Center for Copyright Information for details on the "graduated response"). The target for this antipiracy effort which was years in the making is focused on peer-to-peer services and specially BitTorrent users who download content from "EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner, or do likewise with movies owned by Disney, Sony, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Universal and Warner" according to TorrentFreak.

Whether or not this will deter or even dent the practice of piracy remains to be seen. In France where repeat offenders can lose their internet connections altogether, only 4% of file-sharers questioned said they curtailed their behavior because of this policy.

From TorrentFreak,

“This groundbreaking agreement ushers in a new day and a fresh approach to addressing the digital theft of copyrighted works,” RIAA’s Cary Sherman trumpeted in a comment.
With proxy services like BTGuard which essentially mask your identity from your ISP, it would appear as if the ground broken by the RIAA may be too easy to walk around.

MADDOG95's picture

Well, I legally own all the digital content I have so I am not affected by this recent move.

There is probably more to the story. RIAA is a trade group and as such must be funded through the revenue stream created by selling digital content through authorized outlets. So, I would conjecture that RIAA's enthusiasm going forward with this initiative is the same as the firms the trade group represents...the owners of the copyright who, according to the law, should be paid for the use of the content. Bottom line, it's about the money.

No one would be able to convince me that they are acting for purely altruistic reasons.

In any event, "piracy", however you define it, has become so ingrained within the digital world that RIAA may not be able to change that practice to any significant effect. Not only are there so many IP tracks to cover but if you can hide behind a software tool, all they will be doing is counting to 100 over and over again in this electronic game of Hide and Seek.

Have a great time playing the game, RIAA! crying

jazzfan's picture

Get the hammer out and let's play Whack-A-Mole.

Once again the RIAA is spitting into the wind.

VPN anyone?

dalethorn's picture

It's about increasing the power of an already too powerful lobby. The pursuit of downloaders rather than those who provide the servers and material should get an honest look. It's really not much different than hanging video cameras in the trees, laying $20 bills along the sidewalk and street, then prosecuting (and building a criminal record on) those who pick up the $20 bills, "stealing" them as it were.

These kinds of laws or the enforcement thereof are part of what is termed 'draconian' law. Any new law which can be predicted to create a new class of petty criminals should qualify. Think about some of the precedents. A new set of laws was created in the 1980's and the USA's first ever 'Czar' was appointed to enforce the new War on Drugs. Then approximately 25 years later the same czar publicly offered a radical solution to eliminate that class of criminals entirely - not by rescinding or modifying the law, but by eliminating the offenders.