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US “Six Strikes” anti-piracy plan rumoured to launch this week

In a move that could spell disappointment and panic amongst thousands of copyright violators in the United States, the five major American ISPs - AT&T, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, Comcast and Cablevision - will reportedly initiate the "Six Strikes" anti-piracy plan this week, according to a source with "direct knowledge" of the Copyright Alert System (CAS) who spoke to the Daily Dot.

The CAS, which aims to combat casual piracy, will flag repeat copyright violators, who will then face heavy reductions in download speeds and temporary browsing restrictions. Internet users found to be infringing copyright will be sent "educational notices", which will then be followed by throttled Internet access if the infringement continues.

"Six Strikes" was announced last summer as the result of a partnership between entertainment industry bodies and major ISPs. The parties collaboratively launched the Centre for Copyright Information (CCI) and agreed on a system that would warn Internet users if their connections are being used for copyright infringement before taking up punitive measures. The plan is designed to curb online piracy, though the director of the CCI has previously said educating the general public, and not targeting hardcore pirates, is the primary goal of the program.

Though it has garnered its fair share of criticism, the "Six Strikes" plan is significantly more lenient than similar programs in France and New Zealand, where pirates can be disconnected from the Internet if found to have violated copyright more than three times.