Last December, the RIAA announced
it was giving up on file-sharing lawsuits, and would be working with ISPs in a three-strikes policy program which would eventually result in broadband being cut off for repeat offenders of illegal file-sharing. At a digital music conference in Nashville this week, AT&T's Jim Cicconi stated that the company has begun testing a such takedown notification system.
An industry insider told C|Net
Cicconi told attendees of the Leadership Music Digital Summit that the notices are part of a "trial." AT&T wants to test customer reaction, he said. Whether AT&T included any warnings that repeat offenders would see their service suspended or terminated is still unclear. Music industry sources said AT&T told managers at the top labels the trial letter would include strong language about the consequences of illegal conduct, but would stop short of mentioning service interruptions.
This was the first time an ISP has admitted participating in the new policy. Previously, C|Net noted that AT&T and Comcast
were likely to participate.
While AT&T was the first, they weren't the last. Later in the conference, on Wednesday, Joe Waz, a senior VP at Comcast, told
the same conference attendees that the company has issued 2 million similar notices.
Additionally, sources told C|Net that Cox is also participating.
The source above said AT&T would not disconnect a user, as is what is supposed to happen after a "third strike" of file-sharing, and Comcast was careful at the conference to call this a "trial" program. This is likely just the first step towards the full-blown three-strikes policy.
Other countries have considered
this sort of policy previously, but no "systemic" adoption of such a policy has taken place, yet.