Four of the largest ISPs in the USA are on the verge of approving a deal with the RIAA and MPAA that'll require ISPs to limit people who repeatedly infringe copyright to visiting only 200 websites, throttled bandwidth, and/or sending them to copyright re-education school.
These are characterized as an alternative to outright disconnection, but as the entertainment execs behind it know that heavily throttled connections or limited access to a small collection of websites are tantamount to disconnection when it comes to the diverse benefits accrue to Internet users. And being sent to a copyright school designed by the entertainment industry isn't likely to deliver a decent understanding of education.
After years of negotiations, a group of bandwidth providers that includes AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon are closer than ever to striking a deal with media and entertainment companies that would call for them to establish new and tougher punishments for customers who refuse to stop using their networks to pirate films, music and other intellectual property, multiple sources told CNET.
The sources cautioned that a final agreement has yet to be signed and that the partnership could still unravel but added that at this point a deal is within reach and is on track to be unveiled sometime next month...
Participating ISPs are given plenty of choices on how to respond to the toughest cases. They can select from a "menu" of responses outlined in the plan, such as throttling down an accused customer's bandwidth speed or limit their access to the Web. For example, a suspected pirate may be allowed to visit only the top 200 Web sites until the illegal file sharing stops. The subscriber may also be required to participate in a program that educates them on copyright law and the rights of content creators. In the past, a graduated response was also supposed to lead to a complete termination of service for chronic file sharers. Kicking someone off a network is not required under the proposed agreement, the sources said. As for who pays for all this, the ISPs and copyright owners will share the costs of operating the program, sources said.
(via Ars Technica)