Efficiency Tests Delay U.S. “Six Strikes” Anti-Piracy Scheme

The much-discussed U.S. six strikes anti-piracy scheme has been delayed until later this year. The main question on people's minds is why. Is it because of the SOPA and PIPA revolts? Are the Internet providers having second thoughts? Not according to Advisory Board member Gigi Sohn, who points out that finding the right "language" for the warnings is one of the delaying factors.

The MPAA and RIAA, helped by five major Internet providers in the United States, will start to warn and punish copyright infringers later this year.

The parties launched the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) and agreed on a system through which copyright infringers are warned that their behavior is unacceptable. After five or six warnings ISPs may then take a variety of repressive measures.

Initially the first ISPs were expected to send out the first copyright alerts by the end of 2011, but for reasons unknown this deadline silently passed, as did the revised July 2012 start date.

TorrentFreak learned that all Internet providers now plan to roll the scheme out whenever they see fit, but still no official explanation has been given for the apparent delay. Luckily, Public Knowledge president and co-founder Gigi Sohn is offering a helping hand.

Sohn is one of the public rights advocates who were invited to join the CCI Advisory Board earlier this year. After noticing many questions about progress on the “six strikes” scheme she has decided to release some more details.

The first reason for the delay, according to Sohn, is that the Internet providers need time to get the technology ready to alert pirating subscribers via email.

In addition, the CCI is also undecided on what language to use in the alerts. They are currently running tests to find out what works best.

“The Board, with the Advisory Board’s advice, has been testing messages for the alerts to see what will be effective and what will not. This testing has included focus groups with parents and young adults,” Sohn explains.

Judging from some of the anti-piracy messages DVD-viewers get to see, the emails could include a list of scary threats mentioning jail time and massive fines. However, Sohn notes that CCI will most likely choose a softer approach.

“The CCI’s alert methods and messaging will almost certainly be shaped by the recent reports from France that discuss the demise of the ’3 strikes’ Hadopi law,” she writes.

As we reported last week, the French Culture minister said that Hadopi failed because it didn’t point people towards sites where content could be bought legally.

It is expected that the U.S. emails will focus less on punishments and more on legal options, but the testing panels are currently figuring out the best strategy.

The third and final reason for the delay is down to the American Arbitration Association, who have yet to finalize the appeal procedure. The expectation is that many people who receive a warning will not have actually downloaded anything personally and will therefore require an easy way to appeal “strikes”.

It will be interesting to see whether the first alerts will indeed go out before the end of the year, what language they include, and how effective they will be.

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