A long-planned anti-piracy measure will be rolling out "over the next several weeks."
Back in July 2011, a coalition of U.S. Internet providers -- including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision, and Time Warner Cable -- signed on to an agreement to crack down on online copyright infringers. Or, well, to "crack down." The terms of the agreement emphasized user education over user punishment: Instead of cutting infringing users off from Internet services, the providers dreamed up a "six strikes" approach to infringement notification: Copyright holders would do their standard scanning for infringement. They would then cross-reference suspect IP addresses against the ISPs that control them. The copyright holders would then send a message to infringers -- and, under the agreement, the ISPs would in turn commit to forwarding those messages to their customers. For up to six of those messages. The agreement's goal, Ars Technica noted at the time, was to "educate and stop the alleged content theft in question, not to punish. No ISP wants to lose a customer or see a customer face legal trouble based on a misunderstanding, so the alert system provides every opportunity to set the record straight."
The plan, though, was never implemented. Instead, its launch kept getting postponed. And postponed. And postponed. In March, the ISP crackdown was predicted to have a July 2012 launch. And July came and went.
But bad news, torrenters! The ISP crackdown, as of today, appears imminent. According to a report in The Hill, the infringement alert system will be implemented "over the next several weeks." The report quotes Jill Lesser, the executive director of the Center for Copyright Information -- the organization overseeing the new anti-piracy program -- as saying, "We're really close and we'll start seeing alerts over the next several weeks." (She prefaces that comment with a nod to the long build-up to the system's launch: "There are [implementation] dates in draft materials that are not set in stone and we don't want to create any expectations we can't meet....")