White House Endorses New 'Six Strikes' Agreement Over Copyright

White House Endorses New 'Six Strikes' Agreement Over Copyright

A number of major ISPs have signed on to a new agreement seeking to regulate the pursuit of users who allegedly download copyright-infringing material. In an unusual step, the White House has added its own voice to the discussion. US IP Enforcement Coordinator Victoria Espinel posted an entry to the White House Blog today, saying:*
The Administration is committed to reducing infringement of American intellectual property as part of our ongoing commitment to support jobs, increase exports and maintain our global competitiveness.

The joining of Internet service providers and entertainment companies in a cooperative effort to combat online infringement can further this goal and we commend them for reaching this agreement.  We believe it will have a significant impact on reducing online piracy.

We believe that this agreement is a positive step and consistent with our strategy of encouraging  voluntary efforts to strengthen online intellectual property enforcement and with our broader Internet policy principles, emphasizing privacy, free speech, competition and due process.
Ars Technica has further details on the agreement. ISPs, including AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and Comcast, have agreed to adapt a six-strikes policy that aims to put a friendlier face on the copyright infringement police. After years of demanding customer information (even without the approval of a judge) and three-strikes-and-you're-out policies, copyright holders are talking about the need to 'educate' consumers with something other than the barrel of a metaphorical gun.

ISPs now agree to send their customers a series of 'alerts.' The first four are described as notifications of varying strength, while the fifth requires that the ISP take action 'reasonably calculated to stop future content theft.' The strength of such measures is described as increasing as the number of incidents rise.

One of the crucial benefits of this approach is that it maintains the Safe Harbor clause established in the DMCA. That clause specifies that ISPs cannot  be sued by irate rightsholders so long as they 1) Were previously unaware of the existence of infringing content and 2) Take steps to remove such content upon receiving a notice of infringement. This point has been a (needless) bone of contention between ISPs and copyright holders for years. The latter have variously insisted that ISPs are required to take draconian actions and aggressively monitor their own users. The former have generally resisted doing so, on the grounds that it's both effectively impossible and exceedingly dangerous. An ISP that goes too far in its attempt to monitor the actions of its users would waive its own protection.


We all know how well this ended

The new agreement and the White House's endorsement may be the beginning of a new, saner approach to copyright management and enforcement, but it's by no means certain that the kinder rhetoric will be backed by better policy. To be blunt, it's hard to believe that the likes of the MPAA and RIAA, having spent a decade fanatically espousing a failed strategy, have suddenly turned over a new leaf.

*Note - While the Administration's decision to weigh in on this is worth noting, this is not an official endorsement or a legally binding document.
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Interesting, might be good news up North considering we're constantly being put on the USTR watch list with a bunch of made up numbers. Hopefully this will ease the pressure and put an end to ridiculous things like iPod taxes, ACTA and Bill C-32 etc. Or at least I hope.

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This is a step in the right direction but it does not address what would happen to people who unknowingly have copyright infringing content or the people who unknowingly download copyright infringing content.

This needs much more work in order to be acceptable, so far these government people don't understand the nature of the internet at all.

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How does one "unknowingly download copyright infringing content"?? lol hmm if someone is downloading music/movies through p2p or file sharing sites (rapid) they definitely KNOW they are downloading copyright infringing content. I'm not sure I fully understand this comment.

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its measured through your network. so if someone else downloads a movie torrent on your network - you get the letters. Trust me, I got one last week and found my neighbor had a laptop... much better password on it now.

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Don't you think securing your network is a good idea???? :P

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It is important to secure your network Manduh but the encryption available on home networks is typically weak. WEP can be hacked in minutes and most WPA passwords if short would only take a couple of days.

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ya mine is built into my router, it's like 20 characters long or something like that.. pain in the ass when you need to re-input them but definitely worth the security.

I live in an apartment building and can see about 8 dif open connections right now... it's sad that people just don't realize how important it is to have a secure network. Not just due to copy right infringement, but also exceeding data caps, and the chance of somebody using your network for worse illegal purposes like child porn etc.

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he cracked it. its not hard to packet sniff the password.

"much better password on it now..."

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>> How does one "unknowingly download copyright infringing content"?

Ever watch a YouTube video that had a popular (or even unpopular) song in the background that wasn't created by the person who made the video?  You did it.

 

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watching a video and downloading content are two different things.... are they not?  Maybe this new "law" is a little too vague.

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>> watching a video and downloading content are two different things.... are they not?

No, actually they're not. Downloading is the act of pulling data; what your system does with the data matters not. Streaming is simply downloading and not retaining the data.

I foresee MAFIAA subcontractors extorting money left and right - charging exorbitant 'license' fees for every little infringement, with the underlying threat of eating one of your six strikes and potentially forcing you off the net. I guess this basically ends the ability for people to participate in the Tor network in the U.S..

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This is a step in exactly the wrong direction. If you don't understand why, then you are one of the people who fail to learn from history and are doomed to repeat it. Look up "Mussolini."

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Unemployment numbers are comprised of those that are in the job market for the past 30 days. It does not include those that have not been in the job market in the last 30 days: people who have given up looking; those that have gone off unemployment because it has run out. One solution to unemployment is "High Speed University" check it out

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It is certainly good to have a better policy in place for copyright infringement. The important thing to remember is this does not stop the RIAA or MPAA from going after people if they have proof of 1 infringement. I have to agree that this is not going to stop those agencies strong arm (mafia) tactics.

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is the day of legally binding articles and discussions like these in the not to distant future upon us ?

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RT,

Invoking references to fascism puts in you violation of Godwin's Law. ;) Sorry.

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I am ok with this so long as they stick with placing bugs into their movies and leaking the movies themselves. If this is masked in ambiguity so that later it could be measured through bandwidth usage or use of P2P in general, it will be a horrible trojan horse. P2P has many legitimate uses.

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So how do they even track what you are downloading? Is there something in the files that they can track? I've really only heard of people getting into trouble for downloading/sharing movies or sharing music. I guess this is a good educational system for a lot of users, it would suck to find out the hard way that your neighbor is downloading off of your network. Can't people just go to tbell or starbucks and download this stuff anyway?

On a side note, is there an easy way to see which computers are connected to your wireless?

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@Drake

Typically if you go into the web interface of your router there is a place that will show the connected devices. I know in my Netgear router it is in the list on the left and says Attached devices.

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It seems like setting a weak password or none at all is a good way to claim someone else illegally downloaded stuff and not yourself. Not that that doesn't legitimately happen, but folks who really don't know to lock down their internet are probably not the folks intentionally downloading TBs of files illegally.

The first time I get warned about excessive data consumption/downloads, I'll be switching ISPs. Until the Internet is regulated, I will not be held down. This is the golden age of the Internet, my friends. We will not have the freedoms that we have on the Internet forever. Traffic will be monitored and controlled in the future, I have no doubt of that.

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Honestly I think it will be great that they are watching for p2p cause makes it so companys that invest can still make good money without too many pirates. But companys that try to crap out a game engine sell it as a full game for $80 dollars then all content is dlc and considered extra and bought seperatly will not make money and will just be pirated.

As for users wont matter to much with right p2p proxys ect it will be rare and hard to prove. But web page hosters will no longer make money off other peoples stuff.

The major driving force behind this though is the fact that the usa has like 4 total major nationwide providers. Whose equipment and hardware hasnt been updated since the early 90s. And instead of upgrading they are trying to drag it out by limiting bandwidth. AND NOW THEY CAN LEGITIMATELY kick high bandwidth users.

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