‘Six strikes’ anti-piracy measures postponed until next year

Plans for a big crackdown on illegal downloading have been postponed, because of the effects of Hurricane Sandy.

The Center for Copyright Information, set up to coordinate the program, says that storm damage has seriously affected its testing schedule.

Under the scheme, which has Verizon, Time Warner, Cablevision, Comcast and AT&T as members, ISPs will send alerts to customers they believe are infringing copyright, under a six-strikes-and-you’re-out system.

While it’s billed as an education service, punishments for repeated infractions will include bandwidth throttling or suspending a user’s internet service altogether, as well as restricting access to certain websites. Customers do, though, have a right of appeal.

ISPs will also be free to pass information on to the content providers themselves, who could take legal action.

But the CCI says that these alerts, originally due to start by the end of this year, will now be delayed several months.

Our goal has always been to implement the program in a manner that educates consumers about copyright and peer-to-peer networks, encourages the use of legal alternatives, safeguards customer privacy, and provides an easy-to-use independent review program for consumers to challenge alerts they believe they’ve received in error,” says CCI executive director Jill Lesser in a statement.

“We need to be sure that all of our ‘I’s are dotted and ‘T’s crossed before any company begins sending alerts, and we know that those who are following our progress will agree.”