AT&T to launch six-strike anti-piracy plan Nov 28, leak shows

By on October 15, 2012, 4:00 PM

Leaked internal training documents indicate AT&T is gearing up to launch a six-strike anti-piracy initiative on November 28. This may not prove to be much of a surprise for readers who caught headlines earlier this year regarding an impending graduated response supposedly making its way to ISPs. Although such plans have ultimately been delayed, it seems the proposed anti-piracy measures have evolved into a more specific six-strikes plan -- a system expected to be adopted by major ISPs in the near future.

If Torrent Freak's sources are to be believed, here's how AT&T plans to combat piracy under the new "six-strikes" plan:

  • The first three strikes apparently have no consequences -- they are merely warnings.
  • Fourth and fifth strikes will cause subscribers to be redirected to an "educational page" when visiting "certain websites".
  • Fourth and fifth strikers will also need to complete a "brief" online tutorial in order to visit those "certain websites" again. The tutorial will attempt to educate users about copyright infringement.
  • On the sixth strike, AT&T will allow content owners to pursue legal action. At this stage, AT&T says it will allow content holders to seek a court order requesting the company turn over personal details about the customer -- not that a copyright holder seeking legal intervention is exactly AT&T's choice anyway.

It's important to know that AT&T's proposed plan will not throttle or otherwise interrupt Internet service -- this is a big change (improvement?) from previous US-based efforts to combat piracy. AT&T's approach shows the company is attempting to be fair-minded, offering customers ample warnings with impunity and choosing to "educate" accused rule-breakers instead of outright punish them. This is quite different from say, France's controverisal three-strikes law, which caught its first offender last month, but nonetheless remains a similar idea.

Of course, one of the issues here is: does an IP address equal a person? AT&T holds that subscribers are responsible for their account's Internet use and by extension -- the misuse of it. As we all know though, even the best security isn't perfect and many users aren't sophisticated enough to secure their systems. Wi-Fi networks, for example, are notoriously insecure. Users often choose WEP encryption, poor passwords (or none at all), letting tech savvy neighbors with few scruples take advantage of their Wi-Fi without the owner's knowledge.

What are your thoughts on AT&T's proposed anti-piracy solution?




User Comments: 12

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Cota Cota said:

A lot of people wont know how to secure their devices...

More money for technicians :P

No but seriously, a lot of people dont know a thing on how to "secure" their wireless networks, even worse not even whit a tutorial since most devices have different UI, like usual this law was created by people who study economics and philosophy.

ikesmasher said:

As soon as crap like this starts happeneing to everyone (10 years?) I really hope people are as willing to boycott ISPs as I am, because regardless of whether or not its legal, its a shere invaision of privacy.

Not to mention piracy doesnt lose corps much money anyway.

BlueDrake said:

While I'm not all for the whole "six strikes" thing, it sure beats France at doing it's own game I find. While yes it was their intention to basically stop said users from pirating, the limited three strikes doesn't give enough warning some might say.

How do you know it wasn't someone hacking your Wi-Fi as the article states? Or someone say one of your kids was pirating, when "most" parents don't monitor their kids in the first place? The most common thing for them to do, would be obviously ask if they did. Often they will deny it outright of course, which many parents won't likely push the subject.

I think at least in this general line of thinking, AT&T isn't providing a bad alternative really. While trying to correct users for pirating, my guess would be offering solutions? Many at the company I'm sure are hoping, many of their customers won't need the 4th through 6th strike.

That's just my general line of thought. I'm not for any ISP wanting to crack down, by throttling and such in the least. Just this is a better alternative I find, but lets hope they actually follow through with everything.

Win7Dev said:

How will they know if you a pirating in the first place? What if you went to TPB.se and downloaded a legal torrent (e.g. someones psd file).

RoyalKnight said:

Honestly, most people who torrent are either 1.) associated with downloading large bits of content like with Blizzard or other highly recognizeable source, or 2.) downloading copyrighted stuff.

The sad fact of the matter is that legal uses that are not #1 are edge cases and are more often used as hypothetical excuses and tongue-in-cheek jokes ("Oh, I'm just downloading the latest Linux distro. Over forced encrypted connections. Through a proxy. 500 GB of distro this month. Because I love distro.") rather than legitimate uses. Whether someone wants to "stick it to the man" is besides the point.

Three warnings with no consequences is pretty forgiving, but also allows for people to 1.) figure out if something suspicious is going on, and 2.) raise a dispute about the edge case of being warned about legitimate torrents.

IP addresses might not be people, but if your car is constantly getting stolen and being caught used for drug trafficking by someone, your insurance is going to raise some eyebrows. They're not stupid.

Guest said:

Good thing I use my neighbor's Internet.

Guest said:

So I guess alot of people will be changing isp's from AT&T than? good sales plan they will make millions!!!!

Guest said:

Really, a car being stolen and used from drug deals, that is the gold-star analogy here? Using someone's unsecured wireless network is far less intrusive than stealing their car to make a deal down by the docks. I understand your point that common sense should be applied but this is a tech site, so I'm going with the presumption that most people here are tech-minded individuals. This group here is not representative of the public on the whole, there are many people who routinely have their networks abused by neighbors and I highly doubt they even know it. So what if AT&T sends them a few warnings, if they don't know how to secure their systems they will still be on the hook - is that fair? Ascribing to the "IP = an individual" philosophy is very dangerous for the preservation of our privacy. RIAA and MPAA have far too much influence if they are getting ISPs locked into a game of tag with respect to responsibility. Business models should evolve to meet customer demands but it seems far more tech. is involved in litigation these days - I'm not thinking that is a route that will pan-out in the long-run.

Guest said:

After the first warning wouldn't the customer just change ISPs?..

Tygerstrike said:

Now I know that there are legitimate uses for torrent files. However, I know, you know, they know, that if your downloading 1 torrent file or so a week its prolly a Bliz patch. If your downloading gigs of torrent files, youre prolly pirating. Its not hard guys. Nothing you do online is TRULY secure. Everything you do can be tracked. In some form or fashion. And dont sit there and try and blow smoke up everyones skirts. WE ALL KNOW PPL PIRATE!!! Its not hard to guess why, justifications aside. Its a bad economy. Why spend 20-30$ for a CD or Movie when you can get it for the simple investment of a few hours of downloading. But it doesnt change the fact that it is a form of stealing and someone is a victim. AT&T is being VERY generous in giving 6 strikes. They choose to educate instead of taking you off the web. And for those ppl who think "Hey, I will just change service providers", think again. If you dont think they will have a BlackBook registery that all the ISP will enter thier offending customers, youre as daft as they get. Its the only way a strike system will work.

Guest said:

Encrypt. proxy. Honestly if enough ISPs get on board with this I'd imagine torrenting sites, the ones that have illegal content anyways, will find a way around this if they lose too many downloads/visits...

BlueDrake said:

Now I know that there are legitimate uses for torrent files. However, I know, you know, they know, that if your downloading 1 torrent file or so a week its prolly a Bliz patch. If your downloading gigs of torrent files, youre prolly pirating. Its not hard guys.

Only torrents I use really are legit reasons. If a site asks to torrent said download to save bandwidth, I will do that since I want to be conservative for them. Only real torrent I've done in the past 5+ months, would be for Torchlight II and that was to test my PC's capability. Since I was going to buy it anyways, but I wanted to know if I could even play it fluidly. I got the game anyways as a gift, saving me $20 but I still don't torrent games / movies.

Since all my music is free or cheap, due to I mostly enjoy VGM instead of the norm. It saves me on money, and wasting time / bandwidth getting anything else. If I want previews of some music, I'll go look online to hear it. There's little reason for me to torrent, I have unlimited bandwidth but still. I check my bandwidth usage, most of it is actually watching YouTube. I average sometimes 70-90GB and sometimes about 100-130GB, based on my excessive HD watching.

Torrenting in general holds no place for me, unless it's to save others on bandwidth in the long run.

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