Internet Service Providers implement Six Strikes policy to help prevent piracy

Internet Service Providers such as AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision and Time Warner Cable have implemented the Copyright Alert System, otherwise known as the six strikes policy. This is the latest mechanism to combat piracy.

Andy Bennett, director of the Center for Excellence in Digital Forensics at Sam Houston State University, explained what the six strikes policy is and how it works.

The basic principle is that ISPs are monitoring their user bases traffic and if they identify activity they believe to be criminal in nature then they will issue a warning to that user, Bennett said. Subsequent infractions would be met with stiffer and stiffer responses from the provider until the 6th infraction, at which the ISP reserves the right to terminate service to said user,

According to, the six strikes policy was conceived by the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) an umbrella faction representing major ISPs across the US and representatives from the recording and film industries.

The CAS marks a new way to reach consumers who may be engaging in peer-peer piracy, said Jill Lesser, head of CCI. [It] marks the culmination of many months of work.

As for the policys potential consequences for those at Sam Houston State University, Bennett said that it will not affect those on the SHSU network.

SHSU essentially is an ISP and has had restrictions in place for years regarding illegal file sharing and dissemination of copyrighted materials on the schools network, Bennett said. The first infraction . . . results in a visit to the library and a potential revocation of network access privileges for the user who has committed it.

While students who live on campus have to abide by SHSUs regulations, those who live off campus will be impacted the same way as other customers who purchase their internet access from an ISP.

They will be bound by the rules as established by their ISP of choice off campus, Bennett said.

Although CCI said that the policy is under the implantation phase, there is a possibility that it will become a permanent mainstay against piracy despite stiff resistance from many internet users.

Bennett pointed out that decisions like the six strikes policy is taking the internet further away from what it should ideally be a public service and a human right.

The idea that the internet is no longer a private medium for content delivery but is now the defacto mechanism for the average persons ability to exercise his or her right to free speech and as such internet access should be reclassified as a public utility and the infrastructure which services it should be a public resource, Bennett said.

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