Life Internet Ban For Pirates

US ISP Mediacom has announced the strictest piracy measures ever seen in the US. Three strikes and you're banned for life - but is it fair?

Ultimate Guitar

American internet users could be banned from the internet for life if they subscribe to the ISP Mediacom and persistently break copyright law.

A controversial six-strikes anti-piracy scheme will start in the US this year, but Mediacom has opted for its own stricter measures with a maximum of three strikes.

How will their policy work? When a user receives their first DMCA notice (Digital Millennium Copyright Act), they will receive a letter highlighting the violation to act as a warning.

The second notice will trigger an account suspension, which can only be reinstated when the user completes paperwork.

The third and final struck will see the user banned for life. This contrasts with the industry-wide six-strike rule, which will still punish persistent violators but never enforce a life ban.

"Given the importance of connectivity these days, it's extremely unfortunate that any ISP would terminate after three DMCA notices", the Electronic Frontier Foundation told TorentFreak. "DMCA notices are merely accusations they are not proof of wrongdoing, and ISPs should not treat them as such".

Another problem with any of the proposed rules is that the owner of an internet connection might not be the person committing piracy. A teenager might be using their parent's connection, or a criminal neighbor might exploit the lack of security on a nearby wifi connection. Both situations could impact the subscriber's ability to run a business from home, as one example.

Last year the United Nations declared that internet access is a human right. It could be interesting to see how this plays into any future court cases debating a life ban, though most pirates will probably stop any illegal activity after a warning or two.

What do you think? Will the threat of a lifelong ban stop you from pirating music, or would you just switch providers and ditch Mediacom? Let us know in the comments.

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    Must really suck having to go back to Playboys.
    You... DOWNLOAD porn? Bro. Streaming ftw. Motherless. Google. You're welcome.
    yea when you download it, its there even after they take your internet away. STFU. Your welcome.
    I don't think that there is a way to ban someone from the internet though...
    It does happen sometimes for stuff like child porn cases. So I guess downloading music puts you on the same level as a pedophile.
    Banned from something that isn't really in existence in physical form? cool.
    I know, it's so silly to try and ban someone from something that doesn't physically exist. What next, Ultimate Guitar trying to ban people who break the rules? Ridiculous!
    Ahh... only in America would the 'government' focus so much on trying to take money away from artists by giving them less exposure and keeping the piracy ban money for themselves... The US government is hypocrisy at the highest level.
    So basically: "If you break this law, we will not allow you to pay us anymore." ... "Alright, I'll just be over here, paying your competition for the exact same service."
    ya know i actually saw a short blurb in a 2008 rolling stone magazine that said something along the lines that ISP's should open some sort of service, make people pay 5 or 10 dollars a month, and they can torrent their brains out completely legally, and the money would be split between isp's labels, artists, etc. a little extreme, but it kind of makes sense. people are massively torrenting anyway, if they can get a couple bucks a month and make a legal service, i think they could make a pretty hefty chunk back of the money they're losing due to piracy. i was kind of shocked this idea was thought of 2008 and nobody has even mentioned anything like it.
    I actually really like this idea. I dislike Spotify because the library is limited, but if you could pay a few bucks a month to download from anywhere you'd like, I'd be completely okay with that. There is, however, the issue of making sure independent bands/labels get a cut too, which the RIAA will do nothing to enforce. There needs to be an easy process for bands and labels to register with the ISPs to get a share of the profits.
    Don't forget film companies, actors, etc etc. $5-10 bucks a month wouldn't even come close to covering it though. People who download music and movies don't usually just download 2-3 a month, and even still.. 3 new release DVDs maybe cost $50-70
    That's rubbish, 5 or 10 dollars a month to potentially download thousands of dollars of IPs? That's ridiculous
    The problem here is, the people that currently pirate do it for free. Even if they were charged 50c a month, they'd still take the free route.
    That's a very dim view of things, to be honest, and one that I disagree with. I honestly believe that many who pirate now would gladly to subscribe to such a scheme. The issues of making sure artists get their cut, and the fee originally proposed is far too small, to be honest.
    The idea of paying x amount a month to stream unlimited music? Damn... That's something that could work... 0_o
    Download, not stream. Major difference.
    Definitely, but I assume the reason streaming services arose is continuity. Imagine the amount of music that could potentially be downloaded in a month: thousands of gigs of music, right? So, pay for one month, get more than a lifetime of music, cancel your subscription. You could have theoretically paid $10 for somewhere around 5 years worth of music. The only incentive to maintain or reinstate the subscription would be to get new music, but one could just as easily re-torrent once or twice a year to update their library.
    This is very true. It likely wouldn't be an issue except for A) Spotify's library is still very limited and B) unlimited data plans for smartphones are slowly going away. Downloading will likely always remain supreme as long as those two issues remain unresolved.
    Well, (A) is just a matter of the site becoming more popular and successful I think, and (B) comes down to a data infrastructure overhaul. There's already not enough bandwidth for the next generation of data expansion, that's why unlimited plans are going out the window. Extra Credits s4 ep15 on the penny arcade gives a good presentation of the issue, if anyone is at all interested.
    When cassette recorders came out the record companies said it was the end of the music industry, claimed giant losses and did all the nonsense they are doing now. Eventually they got a cut of the blank media profits and were happy. I would definitely not be surprised if they were now after a cut of ISP profits.
    Really don't think the threat of a life long ban will do anything but make those who don't care about stealing music laugh. How would they ever truly enforce that? Like the article said, what if it's some kid using their parents internet? I don't think it'll work nor ever happen. The only way to deter piracy is to tap into the listeners morals and have them convince themselves its wrong and hurting the musicians they like in the first place. The average joe doesn't understand what it takes to be a musician and the kind of work and care put into making an album. If they are educated about this process they hopefully would start to feel bad about ripping off artists. It's a classic case of, "Well, why do I care?"
    This will only encourage the remaining 37 Mediacom users to find another ISP.
    Mr Winters
    This is ridiculous. Aren't there far more importants things than music piracy going on? Ah yes, piracy makes a few people get less money, right.
    What if I'm a real seagoing ruffian, and I raid local merchant ships for their cargo and the like? How is this going to effect my internet use?
    Not only it would not be the solution for piracy in ANY way, but also internet is now a human right AFAIK.