AT&T To Start Flagging, Blocking Users Who Download Copyrighted Material

Have you downloaded anything from a torrent site lately? A movie? A game? A TV Show you missed? How about an MMO? A backup copy of software you already bought and paid for? Pictures? Music? Well, it doesn't matter what you download from any torrent site, because AT&T and other major internet service providers will start flagging accounts and blocking access to websites thanks to the RIAA and MPAA.

According to Torrent Freak, there will be a six-strike policy put into effect soon. This was revealed thanks to leaked training documents for an upcoming set of policies being put into place by AT&T beginning November 28th.

According to the documents...

“In an effort to assist content owners with combating on-line piracy, AT&T will be sending alert e-mails to customers who are identified as having been downloading copyrighted content without authorization from the copyright owner.”“The reports are made by the content owners and are of IP-addresses that are associated with copyright infringing activities. AT&T will not share any personally identifiable information about its customers with content owners until authorized by the customer or required to do so by law.”

Video game publishers have been receiving a ton of flak and backlash for their anti-piracy measures, some that extended as far as having subpoenas show up at the doorsteps of suspected pirates and aiming to sue them in the court of law. The ridiculous nature of punishing someone for copying material that tangibly doesn't exist seems a bit ludicrous. No, it is ludicrous.

What's worse is that this whole effort is being manned by the RIAA and MPAA, the two douchebag corporations who were behind PIPA and SOPA from earlier this year. They've already been in cahoots with Google to block content from searches, as you may have noticed listings being removed that are flagged by the DMCA that takes users to the Chilling Effect website.

The RIAA and MPAA will be further extending their prowess now to directly influence and affect the browsing, searching and downloading habits of users, first with AT&T but soon after with Comcast, Verizon, Timewarner Cable and CableVisions Systems, as reported by Wired.

What does this mean? It means that everything you download, everything you do online will be monitored and logged and can be used against you.

Now, regarding this flagging system...AT&T will reportedly block access to websites that offer illicit copyrighted material after flagging the user six times. Thereafter users will be forced to take an online “course” about copyrighted material and will regain access after completing the course.

As stated in the Wired article by Matt Licht...

The Copyright Act allows damages of up to $150,000 per infringement of a work registered with the Copyright Office. Peer-to-peer file sharing of copyrighted works is the infringement being targeted. It’s easily detectable, as IP addresses of internet customers usually reveal themselves during the transfer of files. Cyberlockers, e-mail attachments, shared Dropbox folders and other ways to infringe are not included in the crackdown.

It's a pretty crappy situation for consumers all the way around, as you'll be forced to only access content that the RIAA, MPAA and other copyright fascists allow you to access.

There is a bit of a way out for AT&T, Comcast and Verizon can use VPNBook (dot) com to try to bypass the ISPs' freedom infringing crap but you didn't hear that from me.

Will Usher

Staff Writer at CinemaBlend.