Plan Would Crack Down on Piracy by Punishing Repeat Offenders

AT&T, Verizon, Cablevision, Comcast and Time Warner Cable are part of the talks, which have been supported by the Obama administration, and a deal could be announced this summer.

After more than two years of negotiations involving entertainment industry leaders and the Obama administration, an agreement is taking shape with the largest domestic ISP and broadband providers to address some online intellectual property piracy. 

AT&T, Verizon, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and others are part of the talks, which have been supported strongly by the White House and Obama administration, working with the MPAA (movies and TV), RIAA (recorded music) and NCTA (cable TV and telecommunications).

None of those involved in the talks would comment, and some did not respond to requests for comment. The deal could fall apart, or some in the talks could withdraw while others go forward.

However, after long negotiations to get the ISP's to take a tougher stance on piracy, it appears likely a deal will be announced this summer, according to sources.

The pact would primarily address Internet users who download P2P files of pirated material. It would not have any impact on rogue websites who stream pirated movies, music, games or other copyrighted material.

Under the terms being discussed, if a customer downloads an illegal file, the bandwidth provider would send them a message called a Copyright Alert. That would inform them they were violating the law and suggest that they go to authorized providers instead.

If the consumer repeatedly ignores the warnings, they could face penalties which might include limiting which sites they can visit on the web. However that would not include  a service cutoff. They might also be required to take educational courses.

Those who opposed the plans say that this would not allow the consumer due process under the law, and that an ISP does not have the right to police on behalf of copyright owners. It is also unclear if an ISP could ever be forced to actually drop a consumer for piracy.

The cost of the program would be shared by both the ISPs and the copyright owners.

The efforts to curb intellectual piracy have gotten strong support from the Obama administration. This is only one of a number of anti-piracy efforts they have backed. Others have included a multi-government task force which has been active in blocking site and taking down rogue sites, raiding pirates and in some cases prosecuting pirates.

The news of this latest effort was first reported by CNET. 

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