Comcast is to begin hijacking browsers of its internet subscribers who are detected of repeatedly infringing on public file-sharing networks while Cablevision Systems said it would suspend subscribers for 24 hours after their fifth offense.
The punishment comes as the nation’s biggest internet service providers this week began rolling out the so-called “Copyright Alert System,” which is backed by the President Barack Obama administration and was heavily pushed by the recording and movie studios.
The plan, more than four years in the making, includes participation by AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Verizon. Others could soon join.
Generally, after four offenses, the historic plan calls for these residential internet providers to initiate so-called “mitigation measures” (.pdf) that might include reducing internet speeds and redirecting a subscriber’s service to an “educational” landing page about infringement. Those measures began to take shape this week.
Comcast announced a plan that virtually deadens a subscriber’s ability to surf the web after four infringement violations — which the ISPs are calling “Copyright Alerts.”
Another attempt to save a dying business model by forcing it to change. Sadly, it’s not likely to happen.
New York’s Cablevision filed an antitrust lawsuit on Tuesday alleging that Viacom has compelled it to pay for 14 cable networks it didn’t want, including CMT, MTV Hits, Nick Jr., Nicktoons, Palladia, and VH1 Classic.
If Cablevision is successful in its lawsuit—which remains under seal—it could significantly push forward an “à la carte” model for cable television.
The companies haven’t said much beyond their stinging public statements.
“The manner in which Viacom sells its programming is illegal, anti-consumer, and wrong,” says Cablevision in a statement (PDF). “Viacom effectively forces Cablevision’s customers to pay for and receive little-watched channels in order to get the channels they actually want. Viacom’s abuse of its market power is not only illegal, but also prevents Cablevision from delivering the programming that its customers want and that competes with Viacom’s less popular channels.”
Viacom, meanwhile, countered that such arrangements had been “upheld by a number of federal courts and on appeal,” adding that the company would “vigorously defend this transparent attempt by Cablevision to use the courts to renegotiate our existing two month old agreement.”