The "six-strike" warning system that aims to curb illegal downloads in the U.S. has been postponed until early 2013.  Previously scheduled to go live this week, the Center for Copyright Information has now announced that ISPs are not ready to send warnings just yet, blaming Hurricane Sandy for the delay.

It’s not clear exactly how this has affected the launch, which has already been pushed back on a couple of occasions before, but it reportedly affected the testing schedule. TorrentFreak believes the main problem is to get all actors, including the ISPs and the American Arbitration Association, lined up to move at once.

Under the plan, content owners will notify ISPs whenever their customers are suspected trading copyrighted files online. From there it’s up to the service providers to get in touch with those users through an escalating system of warnings that ultimately results in "mitigation measures" for repeat offenders. AT&T, Cablevision, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and Comcast are all on board “on a voluntary basis.”

Three of them have revealed what mitigation measures they will take after the fourth warning. According to previous reports, AT&T will block users’ access to “some of the most frequently visited websites” on the Internet, until they complete a copyright course. Verizon will slow down the connection speeds of users for 2 or 3 days, while Time Warner Cable will restrict their ability to browse by redirecting them to a landing page.

The measures are not as severe as previous attempts to counter piracy, both in the U.S. and elsewhere. The stated goal is to provide enough "education" so that the punishment never arrives, but the "mitigation measures" are nonetheless the result of private, unverified accusations not verified by a judge.

Commenting on the dealy, CCI’s Executive Director Jill Lesser said:

Our goal has always been to implement the program in a manner that educates consumers about copyright and peer-to-peer networks, encourages the use of legal alternatives, safeguards customer privacy, and provides an easy-to-use independent review program for consumers to challenge alerts they believe they’ve received in error.

We need to be sure that all of our "I"s are dotted and "T"s crossed before any company begins sending alerts, and we know that those who are following our progress will agree.