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US ISP Adopts Three-Strikes Policy 280

Posted by timothy
from the them's-our-rules dept.
Andorin writes "Suddenlink, a United States ISP that serves nineteen states, has implemented a three-strikes policy. Subscribers who receive three DMCA takedown notices are disconnected without compensation for a period of six months. According to TorrentFreak, the takedown notices do not have to be substantiated in court, which effectively means that subscribers can be disconnected based on mere accusations. In justifying the policy, Suddenlink turns to an obscure provision of their Terms of Service, but also claims that they are required by the DMCA to disconnect repeat offenders."
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US ISP Adopts Three-Strikes Policy

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  • by the linux geek (799780) on Friday September 24, 2010 @07:16PM (#33693370)
    Time Warner's Roadrunner service has had a similar policy for a while, and it's really not that bad of a deal. Basically, if the RIAA/MPAA sees your IP address, instead of trying to extort you for money, they just tell TWC, who redirects you to an angry-sounding webpage next time you try to use the Internet. You click "Accept" or whatever, and then the problem goes away. No subpoenas, no lawsuits. You can do this twice. It's not until the third time that something actually bad happens, and if you're incompetent enough to get caught three times, you shouldn't be on the Internet.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 24, 2010 @07:17PM (#33693384)

    Isn't that technically committing perjury? Not that I've ever heard about anyone facing consequences for such things...

  • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Friday September 24, 2010 @07:25PM (#33693450) Journal

    I doubt that'll get enough response to hurt them - the subscription fees of a few tech savvy customers don't amount to that much. Ideally a few rich and powerful businesspeople would lose their connections because of this; once the lawsuits start flying that should take care of things.

  • by darpified (698235) on Friday September 24, 2010 @07:30PM (#33693494)
    Suddenlink is my provider. They are my *only* choice for reasonably fast internet service. The DSL service here is capped at 1 Mbps and spotty at that. Satellite service is out of my price range, and there is no wireless provider. I'm not happy with them over this, and will send them a message, but cancel my subscription and not have Internet isn't an option. It's an effective monopoly, and they know it.
  • by Sancho (17056) * on Friday September 24, 2010 @07:39PM (#33693534) Homepage

    They are probably referring to this, in section 512:

    `(i) CONDITIONS FOR ELIGIBILITY-
    `(1) ACCOMMODATION OF TECHNOLOGY- The limitations on liability established by this section shall apply to a service provider only if the service provider--
    `(A) has adopted and reasonably implemented, and informs subscribers and account holders of the service provider's system or network of, a policy that provides for the termination in appropriate circumstances of subscribers and account holders of the service provider's system or network who are repeat infringers; and
    `(B) accommodates and does not interfere with standard technical measures.

  • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Friday September 24, 2010 @07:54PM (#33693624) Journal

    On the other hand, there are all the (very valid) reasons that Slashdot so often points out for DMCA takedowns being a bad thing: open WiFi, kids using the computer, automated takedown bots, faulty IP address gathering, and probably many others that I've forgotten to mention here.

    Just because Dr. Rockerfeller J. Richington doesn't need to turn to P2P for a copy of The Hurt Locker, it doesn't mean he's immune to DMCA letters.

  • by freeballer (1160851) on Friday September 24, 2010 @07:56PM (#33693640)

    now that I have some options (dsl, cable) I'd immediately cancel if my isp followed suit.
    Its not that I'm for or against dmca, frankly to me its a pandora box they can never close imo.
    If people were proven without a doubt violated copyright then I could see disconnections. But without a
    trial or whatever there is nothing to the accusations. No real proof, or even a proponderance of evidence.

  • by Lukano (50323) on Friday September 24, 2010 @08:03PM (#33693682)

    I've been reading the TF thread for about an hour now, and I still can't help but think this is a horrible and stinky decision;

    I've written Suddenlink to communicate my dissatisfaction :

    @SuddenLink : "I've contacted Suddenlink in order to communicate my dissatisfaction. I was given the opportunity to move to an area for a job, that was serviced by Suddenlink. Their policy was the deciding factor in me choosing to reject the job opportunity.

    Way to go Suddenlink, not only have you cost yourselves a reliable customer - your policy is affecting immigration to your country."

    Their response was to play dumb ;

    "I apologize, sir! But I'm not quite sure as to what disconnect policy you're referring to. We do not have any cancellation fees or contracts, and you're free to leave our company without any charge or penalty. "

    To which I replied and pointed them in the direction of the TorrentFreak article ;

    "The disconnect policy in which I refer to, can be found here;
    http://torrentfreak.com/us-isp-disconnects-alleged-pirates-for-6-months-100924/ [torrentfreak.com]"

    And their reply was ;

    @SuddenLink : "Thank you for your email in regards to the DMCA Violation. I appreciate the opportunity to assist you today.

    I apologize that you do not approve of this, sir.'

    wow... I'm glad that they 'apologize' that I don't approve of their policy. Great customer service skills - both on a CSR level and Company-Wide, that this is the best response they can come up with.

  • by DeadPixels (1391907) on Friday September 24, 2010 @08:10PM (#33693730)
    Many people are in your exact situation, and it's a tough one to be in. You'd like to tell them that you'll be taking your business elsewhere, but when they're the only ones who offer that service, you have no choice but to stick with them or go without. Perhaps you could send them a strongly-worded letter expressing the flaws in this policy and voicing your displeasure? If enough people make enough of a fuss, something might get done - particularly if the news outlets get wind of a 'big company exploiting the poor folks without any other options'.
  • by hoeferbe (168081) on Friday September 24, 2010 @09:01PM (#33694054)

    It sounds like Suddenlink has somewhat of a monopoly in your area. If that is the case, they are probably regulated by your local government. Although I am not optimistic this will have much effect, you should complain to the franchise authority / regulatory commission that oversees Suddenlink.

    If enough people did, Suddenlink would have no choice but to deep-six this program.

  • by clarkn0va (807617) <apt@get.gmail@com> on Friday September 24, 2010 @09:08PM (#33694102) Homepage
    Start your own WISP then. It's easier than you might think. I got sick of the lack of options here (6/1, reasonably reliable, in fact), and now I provide internet to my neighbours, 100% legally. It cost me a couple thousand to get started and some sweat ethic, but I now enjoy a 30/4 connection and my neighbours are good enough to pay the bill for me.
  • by LostCluster (625375) * on Saturday September 25, 2010 @12:20AM (#33694892)

    1. Get customer list.
    2. Send three DMCA takedowns per customer, no merit to claims required.
    3. PROFIT!

  • by zill (1690130) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @12:31AM (#33694934)
    From the summary:

    Subscribers who receive three DMCA takedown notices are disconnected without compensation for a period of six months.

    So the ISP wins by collecting money without having to provide any service to their "customers".

    In fact, after banning everyone, the ISP can just sell all its assets to a new company for $1, and transferring all the employees to the new company. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  • by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot AT worf DOT net> on Saturday September 25, 2010 @12:57AM (#33695014)

    If you are a customer of theirs, immediately cancel your service and tell them why you are doing it. that ought to send the right message.

    Even more interesting would be to examine their IP space, and send DMCA notices to all of them. This could be something that 4chan can do. Eventually, you'll have 3 notices sent to each and every IP address which should mean they've disconnected everyone. After all, if they do it blatantly, they might just not bother doing the necessary legwork to verify every notice.

    Let's just see what happens when their entire customer base gets disconnected and start filing petitions with their state attorney-general over loss of service they've paid for.

    Keep doing this and they'll find out what life's like to be without revenue for 6 months - disconnected users won't continue paying for service they don't get, after all.

  • by Oceanplexian (807998) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @01:24AM (#33695100) Homepage
    Step 1 - Order a DS3 in a metro area (roughly $2k-3k)

    Step 2 - Go buy some cheap equipment and antennas ($100-1000 for a AP, ~$150-200 for each CPE)

    Step 3 (optional) - Get an FCC license for some licensed spectrum if you're not using 900mhz/2.4/5Ghz. It's actually pretty inexpensive, maybe a a few hundred
    dollars at most and that's it.

    Step 4 - Rent tower space, depending on the area it could run $500-$10000. I'll guesstimate for a few antennas, probably $2000

    This is all assuming you're a typical /. reader and build your own routers, run open-source software and can build enclosures and don't have
    a fear of heights.
  • by X0563511 (793323) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @02:02AM (#33695184) Homepage Journal

    ... and can safely climb a 200' tower without significant risk of killing yourself...

    Yea. Not for everyone, even those that don't mind heights. Climbing a tower is NOT the same as climbing a wall, or looking over the edge of a skyscraper roof...

  • by smallfries (601545) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @04:41AM (#33695566) Homepage

    No worries, if you tell us your IP address then we can cancel it for you. In fact as there is no penalty for submitting incorrect DMCA takedown requests the best thing to do would be to start reporting *every* suddenlink subscriber. I bet they would change their policy quickly enough.

  • Re:PeerBlock (Score:3, Interesting)

    by EpsCylonB (307640) <eps@NOsPAm.epscylonb.com> on Saturday September 25, 2010 @05:25AM (#33695662) Homepage

    From the PeerBlock FAQ

    7. Does this mean my P2P downloading is completely safe now?

    Not necessarily. While many people do use IP Filtering software like PeerBlock to help "protect" themselves from being sued for copyright infringement, it is not 100% protection. In fact some people believe that using blocklists like this are completely useless. Others disagree, and believe that even if it's not 100% safe, it still lets them download files more safely. Sometimes they invoke the "Bear Principle": when running away from an angry bear you don't need to be faster than that bear . . . you only need to be faster than the guy next to you. However, as I seem to remember seeing on the old Peer Guardian site at one point:

                    The only way to be "safe" with P2P downloading is to not share copyrighted content!

    PeerBlock is good at what it does - keeping your computer from "talking" with ip addresses on your configured blocklists. Everything else is up to those blocklists themselves. And heck, even if the blocklists provided 100% coverage of "bad" ip-addresses, and if blocklists were 100% proven to work, there could still be some bugs in the PeerBlock software that may prevent it from working correctly on your machine; we offer no guarantees that it works, and disclaim any and all responsibility for the consequences of your own actions online. If you're sharing copyrighted music/video files and get sued by the relevant organizations, it's not our fault. If you're stuck in a country with an oppressive government and are trying to get out your plans regarding the upcoming revolution, and those in power break down your door and haul you away, it's not our fault. If you're sharing some secret footage of Area 51 and the "Men in Black" come knocking on your door, it's not our fault!

    If you choose to download copyrighted material from the Internet, be aware that you may be breaking the law.

  • by ultranova (717540) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @05:35AM (#33695680)

    So the ISP wins by collecting money without having to provide any service to their "customers".

    Is this legal, even in the US? I realize that he who has the gold makes the rules, and it's a corporation versus a mere mortal, but even so this seems to be going a bit far.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @08:21AM (#33696028) Journal
    Only if you're in the USA. Fun fact: If you submit a DMCA takedown notice from outside the USA, then the court that would find you guilty of perjury has no way of enforcing that judgement.
  • by sumdumass (711423) on Saturday September 25, 2010 @11:30PM (#33700982) Journal

    Not to side with your "idiot" comment or anything, but this happened to me too. It wasn't a spare IP, but similar enough to say the same. It was service with Verizon, I came home one night to find the internet not working and a message on my answering machine saying Verizon needed me to call them about my internet service. I started calling and they said I had three take down complaints filed against me for copyright violations. After claiming it didn't happen, they said they emailed the detailed and I had to check a site out to view the complaints. I sometimes take client PCs home to work on and thought maybe it was one of those infested things that did it.

    Once the service was activated again, I went to check the complaints and it turns out that 3 complaints were files against an IP address that wasn't even close to mine, all within 3-5 seconds of each other over a star trek movie. Once I pointed that out, they claimed to have removed the reference to the situation from my service record completely.

    However, it's BS like this that will cause people to be unfairly targeted for disconnection.

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