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No More Mr. Nice Guy: Industry Cracks Down On Internet Piracy

The FBI crackdown on Internet piracy apparently isn’t stopping very many people from illegally downloading movies, music and other copyrighted material.  Internet Service Providers are now going after the thieves, and they have ways of hitting them where it will hurt the most — in their PC’s.

David McNew, Getty Images

Consumers who illegally download copyrighted films, music or television shows could be found and stopped very quickly under a new anti-piracy initiative the Internet industry announced this week.

Internet service providers, including Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision Systems, and AT&T have agreed to start alerting their customers and issuing warnings when it appears their account is used for illegal downloading.  Warnings will come as pop-up messages or in e-mails.

If the warnings don’t stop the suspected illegal activity, the provider won’t cut off the service, but it will slow the customer’s Internet speed down to a crawl, and restrict the customer’s Internet access until he or she contacts the company and agrees to stop the illegal downloading.

The ISP group says online piracy costs the U.S. economy more than 373,000 jobs, $16 billion in lost earnings and $3 billion in tax revenue each year.

via Internet providers to act against online pirates | Reuters.

Industry officials say they believe most people who download illegally will stop once they’re warned about the consequences, which could include criminal prosecution under federal law.

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