What just happened? AT&T is breaking precedent by cutting off internet service to those who have been accused of pirating content. Numerous warnings were sent out previously, but this does welcome a new era of how customers can be treated without necessarily following strict procedures.
For the first time ever, AT&T is about to stop providing internet services to more than a dozen subscribers over piracy related matters. Of the accused, each customer should have received no less than nine warnings of their activities from owners of content.
Back in 2013, many ISPs adopted a six strike system in conjunction with the Recording Industry Association of America and Motion Picture Association of America. Last year, the six strike system was shut down due to its overall lack of effectiveness. Since then, ISPs have had to come up with their own new policies on how to handle piracy cases.
During the time of six strikes, AT&T stated that it would never throttle connections or cancel a customers service even after the first six alleged violations. Its intent was to educated people about what they were doing wrong.
“A small number of customers who continue to receive additional copyright infringement notifications from content owners despite our efforts to educate them, will have their service discontinued.”
As part of AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner, several Time Warner segments could potentially be responsible for filing complaints against internet subscribers. AT&T did confirm that content owners indicated that they had evidence of users sharing copyrighted materials. However, AT&T would not confirm or deny that a former Time Warner business was the group making a complaint.
Given that this is the first time that end users are actually having their services cut off, it is likely that the alleged offenders have been repeatedly downloading and/or distributing copyrighted materials on a large scale. It is still highly unlikely that finding a song or two from shady sources will get your internet cutoff, but sharing hundreds of files may now be more thoroughly investigated.
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