Copyright alerts could be headed to your inbox


Comcast and other ISPs joined industry groups including the MPAA and RIAA to crack down on piracy. (Matt Rourke/AP)

In a renewed effort to crack down on media pirates, five major Internet service providers — Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner and Cablevision — agreed to send up to six alerts to customers whose accounts show signs of piracy.

No matter how many alerts you get, however, ISPs will not provide subscribers’ names to rights holders. Shutting off someone’s Internet connection is not part of the deal either.

It won’t all be empty threats, however. The first four alerts will notify users about illegal activity linked to their account, and eventually require acknowledgment that a user has received those alerts. At alert five and six, an ISP may throttle back your Internet speeds.

The service providers, along with entertainment groups representing the film and music industries, say that regardless of how many warnings a person gets, the ISP will not interfere with users’ phone lines, ability to call 911, get e-mail or access any home or health monitoring system.

Related stories:

Ideas@Innovations: ISPs institute six-strike rule

Internet providers join in Web piracy fight

Viacom asks Cablevision to remove app content

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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