You may remember late last year the RIAA announced it would drop its practice of fighting piracy by suing individuals in favor of a system that would see the burden shift to ISPs. Both AT&T and Comcast have been previously mentioned among a group of providers that supposedly back the effort, which requires them to cut off users that have been caught sharing copyrighted works at least three times, and today a string of media reports and blog postings are fueling speculation about their participation.
However, representatives for each company have chimed in to offer some clarification. Basically, AT&T admits participating in a trial program related to illegal file sharing and the RIAA, but emphatically denied any plans to terminate a customers’ service – at least not at the request of the RIAA. For its part, Comcast did say it was forwarding messages on the behalf of the recording industry to customers, like other major ISPs with a DMCA notification process, but also said it has no plans to “test a so-called three-strikes-and-you’re-out policy.”
The denials underscore how careful they are when it comes to public perceptions that they might be going out of their way to help the RIAA. All in all, ISPs claim that their policies and procedures have not changed – limiting themselves to simply reminding people they can't engage in illegal activity rather than terminating service based on an allegation from a third party. Let’s just hope they stay true to their word.