In a panel discussion in front of some of the biggest US publishers yesterday, Recording Industry Association of America CEO Cary Sherman announced that most of the US' major ISPs are set to launch a new anti-piracy scheme on July 12th. The agreement between RIAA and the ISPs was first announced last year, with Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon, and Time Warner all bowing to pressure from RIAA and the White House and agreeing to introduce anti-piracy policies.
The details of what this entails have now emerged. The ISPs will introduce a graduated response, with customers accused of online piracy receiving one or two "educational notices" designed to encourage them to cease torrenting and point out that what they're doing is illegal. If these are ignored, customers will receive reminders, and could eventually see their connections throttled or suspended until they agree to stop pirating copyrighted material. None of the ISPs involved have agreed to permanently terminate a customers service.
There's undoubtedly a psychological factor involved, too — a message from your ISP telling customers that they're being watched could act as a wake-up call. This is RIAA's latest attempt at curbing online piracy, with SOPA the most notable in recent years. It's also a long way from the "threat to national security" hyperbole that Sherman's colleague Mitch Glazier used in reference to illegal downloading. However, this new strategy feels far less draconian, and is far less likely to cause a mass revolt against the RIAA, MPAA, and the companies that they represent.