RIAA ISP Plan a Washout?

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Recording Industry Association of America's plan to have Internet service providers implement a three-strikes-and-you’re-cut-off policy towards alleged copyright infringers has hit a stumbling block: The ISPs.

The RIAA  first announced the move last December, but now, a half-year later, most telecoms have not come on board for such a graduated response, reports CNET. The Washington-based music business organization also said it would stop pursuing individual lawsuits against those accused of illegal file sharing.

Though some ISPs such as AT&T — though it denied it — have reportedly tested the three-strikes approach, none have announced a full program for all customers and have also said cut-offs would not occur unless ordered by a court rather than "told" by the RIIA or any other rights org representing music, film, games or other intellectual properties.

"What the ISPs appear to be saying is that this isn't our job,"

Electronic Frontier Foundation legal director Cindy Cohn told CNET columnist Greg Sandoval, adding the RIAA has tried to "turn ISPs and other intermediaries into their own Internet cops." 

RIAA spokesman Jonathan Lamy said the organization has been "working slowly" with most major ISPs through the office of New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

"During the past six months, a number of different ISPs have forwarded nearly half a million RIAA notices to P2P [peer-to-peer] infringers,"

Lamy said. "They had not done that before last winter. A number of individual ISPs now argue that notices alone are proving to have a sufficient deterrent impact."

As sites such as TorrentFreak and TechDirt have noted, the RIAA shift from some 30,000 costly lawsuits to pushing for graduated response may indicate it believes threats can do the job without following through on a court order to actually cut off a user.

According to DSLReports, a UK study claimed 72 percent of P2P group users would stop with just a warning, though such findings have been contested.

At the moment, in dealing with illegal downloading and pirated content in the U.S. it appears efforts may have stalled for now, though the RIAA, motion picture groups and other bodies continue to lobby lawmakers for action.