US ISPs become Big Content's police

After being routed by the great unwashed asserting their democratic rights to oppose the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act, it seems that Big Content in the US did not rest on its laurels.

The RIAA announced that it has given the country’s biggest ISPs a Chinese burn until they agreed to become copyright cops and disconnect anyone Big Content suspects of being a pirate.

During a panel discussion before the Association of American Publishers’ annual meeting, Cary Sherman, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, told CNET  most of the US ISPs are signed up to begin implementing the program by 12 July.

Sherman said that it had taken a year of planning to turn ISPs into Big Content police as each ISP has to develop their infrastructure for automating the system.

Each of them had to build a database so they can keep track of repeat infringers, so they know that this is the first notice or the third notice. Every ISP has to do it differently depending on the architecture of its particular network.

The programme is called a “graduated response” and requires that ISPs send out one or two educational notices to those customers who are accused of downloading copyrighted content illegally. Basically it is three strikes and you are in hot water.

The ISPs can choose from a list of punishments, or what the RIAA calls “mitigation measures,” which include throttling down the customer’s connection speed to suspending web access until the subscriber promises never to pirate any content ever again. So far, no ISP has agreed to permanently terminate service.

It does seem strange that after the SOPA act failed to get legal backing, a voluntary agreement between Big Content and the ISPs manages to do the same thing. The problem is the pirate is still being identified by IP addresses, by Big Content snoops.