Cox Targets Pirates With “10+ Strikes” Program

Preferring to handle file-sharing in its own way, Cox was one of the few large ISPs that refused to take part in the United States' "six-strikes" scheme. Cox operates its own 10+ strikes program featuring warnings and temporary Internet restrictions in the early stages. The Internet provider stops short of detailing the end-game but if earlier statements are to believed, repeat infringers are likely to have their accounts terminated.

cox-logoWith 3.5 million Internet subscribers Cox is one of the few large Internet providers in the U.S. that doesn’t participate in the Copyright Alert System.

However, that doesn’t mean that the ISP is a safe haven for pirates, far from it. The provider has decided to stay on course and stick with its own program that is said to be quite effective in dealing with repeat copyright infringers.

“Cox Communications has a longstanding notice program that we enacted more than 10 years ago. The processes we have in place work to address this important issue and provide a balanced approach for our customers and the copyright holders,” Cox spokesman Todd Smith tells TorrentFreak.

Much like the Copyright Alert System, Cox also works with various “strikes”, keeping track of the number of DMCA notices received for a particular subscriber.

“The name of our program is ‘Cox Graduated Response’ and is not affiliated with the Copyright Alert System (CAS) announced by the RIAA/MPAA,” Smith explains.

The process works as follows: when a second DMCA notice is received for an account the subscriber gets a warning via email or a browser notification. Through these notifications the customers are informed about the allegedly infringing activity and are given the opportunity to call Cox to discuss the issue.

Should the infringements continue, subscribers have their Internet connections interrupted and are unable to browse the Internet until they take action.

“If we receive between two to four more complaints, the customer is placed in a ‘walled garden’. We ask them to call our Customer Safety Department to discuss and to regain access to the Internet,” Smith explains.

The notification that informs users about the temporary Internet restriction looks as follows.


Cox’s Warning Screen (click to enlarge)

cox

After ten or more strikes the subscriber enters the mysterious last phase of the graduated response program.

“If we receive 10 to 12 complaints, our Customer Safety Department will evaluate the situation and work with the customer to find a solution to the complaints,” Smith tells TorrentFreak.

Cox did not confirm or deny that users could be permanently disconnected at this stage. We were informed by the ISP that “it is very rare that we reach this level” and that “the resolution would be evaluated on a case by case basis.”

Previously, Cox customer service did confirm that permanent disconnections are an option, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if they are considered. This would also be in line with Cox’s acceptable use policy.

Similar to the Copyright Alert System, Cox isn’t actively monitoring its customers. They merely collect and respond to DMCA complaints submitted by copyright holders. At any stage subscribers are free to file a counter-notification if they are wrongfully accused.

All in all we can conclude that Cox’s program is not all that different from the Copyright Alert System. Cox gives its subscribers a few more strikes, but unlike the other ISPs it leaves open the option for a permanent disconnection.