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?

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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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138 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Lagunaguitar
    Must really suck having to go back to Playboys.
    ironman316
    You... DOWNLOAD porn? Bro. Streaming ftw. Motherless. Google. You're welcome.
    morbidguitar
    yea when you download it, its there even after they take your internet away. STFU. Your welcome.
    gateway01
    I don't think that there is a way to ban someone from the internet though...
    Kueller917
    It does happen sometimes for stuff like child porn cases. So I guess downloading music puts you on the same level as a pedophile.
    RichieJovie
    Banned from something that isn't really in existence in physical form? cool.
    getmad24_7
    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!
    ProgFripp74
    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.
    VanTheKraut
    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."
    sunnyinphilly13
    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.
    Scourge441
    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.
    engineno9
    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
    corza334
    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.
    Atomic_Assault
    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.
    minieme007
    That's rubbish, 5 or 10 dollars a month to potentially download thousands of dollars of IPs? That's ridiculous
    EL2T
    The idea of paying x amount a month to stream unlimited music? Damn... That's something that could work... 0_o
    Scourge441
    Download, not stream. Major difference.
    Shortround
    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.
    Scourge441
    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.
    Shortround
    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.
    RedClown
    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.
    Nkolstad
    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?"
    fifopher
    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.
    theogonia777
    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?
    iommi600
    Not only it would not be the solution for piracy in ANY way, but also internet is now a human right AFAIK.
    Kajinaga
    So if I go to the library, download a few things, that library will get banned from using the internet and therefore will have to close because it uses the internet for the databases of books it has and who has the ones who are checked out?
    stickman31
    Unless everything is local and on an INTRANET.... but hell the government doesn't like keeping the masses educated so I doubt any have one.
    codyjt5150
    Torrent downloads=Worse than a pedophile. Seriously, you get heavier fines. Why is it $25,000 per download if a song costs roughly 99 cents to a 1.29 on iTunes?
    Smegal
    Because they are trying to cover imaginary losses of other people. if they only catch 1/25000 people then they break even, but this itself is illegal as with no legitimate losses they can't be awarded any amount lol Speculative losses are not actual losses, so i'm surprised any court would hear them let alone award them that much lol (Probably a lot of behind the scenes work)
    splogaton
    Because these companies have heaps of money to hire very expensive lawyers to get their way
    i_am_metalhead
    It's only "stealing" when it comes from the RIAA and big time crybabies like Yngwie, KISS, Metallica, etc. Talk to any band that is actually trying to make it in the music business and 99% of the time they will encourage people to download their music. Its sad that the millionaires are the only ones who have a problem with "pirating".
    mysticguitar77
    Agreed, but also bands with their own labels are hurting too and are speaking up. Like 10 Years, they lashed out on Facebook because of piraters stealing their album and the bass player even created an account on PB and called out the people there. It was actually kinda funny watching all these people trying to justify why they stole the album to the guy they stole it from.
    VaNilla YeTi
    Agreed. I've seen tons of interviews with artist encouraging other to pirate they're album. Hell They even upload the damn thing themselves..
    samick007
    The only thing this will do is bankrupt Mediacom after all the pirates get banned and switch to other ISPs...
    Scourge441
    There are so many ways to avoid being caught for piracy that this will just end up being useless.
    ne14t
    So in other words you will be banned from using any Mediacom owned Internet Service Providers, something tells me that they aren't the only ones providing access in the USA. The only thing this will do is destroy their sales of new connections with a asinine rule like that you will never achieve new customers.
    liam_nz
    Oh no! Usher might have to go to the fridge to get his own snack now!
    BradTheBluefish
    Well if each CD cost $5, the number of piraters would go down. Instead, I still see CDs priced at $15. Remember, $15 times 0 is 0.
    SIEGE312
    Couldn't someone just get another ISP?? And even if Mediacom was super-savvy and tracked the MAC Address, all you have to do is buy another computer... I think it's an interesting statement they are trying to make, but ultimately, the point is moot, there are too many ways around it.
    ironman316
    A lot of people don't know that, though the ones who torrent typically do know... so yeah it's still a fail on the ISP's part lol. Sorry, had to think out loud... er, via text.
    Cheesepuff
    i cant wait till all these old *****s running shit are dead. In another decade or so this will look like those dudes that tried to resist the industrial revolution way back when.
    Anjohl
    Will only get the casual torrent user. Ip masking, dynamic ip's, etc.
    imspazzen
    Everyone's talking about music but I think the biggest victim of pirating is software. I have a friend who torrents pretty much all of his programs, from Cubase to Skyrim. Bands can at least get support through merch/shows but what about software companies? I could be wrong but I think they're hurt the worst.
    bearmod
    How exactly do you ban somebody from the Internet? It's a good idea but its unrealistic. It's like gun and drug control, just because the government says you can't have certain guns and drugs doesn't stop that many people from buying an AK and some heroin. Unless they come up with some kind of enforcement this isn't going to do much.
    deathbycontrol
    I'm pretty sure Copyright law just says you can't alter, distribute, or claim someone's music to be your own. But it's perfectly legal to download it. Basically if you don't seed you don't break the law.
    Merciless Tengo
    The only reason there's such a issue about pirating is because massive music companies, who have nothing to do with the creation of the music except buying the rights to legally own it and charge whatever they want for other people to access it in the name of pure profiteering, are causing a big stink because they're seeing a slump in profit. They're not losing money no, but heaven forbid, they're not making as much as they were before! **** these suits, pirate your music, love the bands you find, share them with your friends and scream as loud as you can when you see them live, that's how you support artists. With any luck we might topple this industry which exists purely for profit, and from the ashes a fairer, more artist-controlled and supportive industry will rise in it's place
    losing battle
    Ill go back to buying cds when I get my local record store back and they start makimg decent portable cd players again! Wait neither of these things are never going to happen so till then go **** y so the RIAA can go **** itself.
    WickedVictim
    Piracy is against the law. People should just stop pirating everything and actually go buy a CD or something to support the artist or whatever it is. I hate my generation..
    jkubed
    I think most people torrent because they want to try something before they spend money on what they won't like. That or they can't afford to buy the CDs/games/movies/whatever.
    thf24
    I've never found much credibility in that reasoning. How many people torrent something, like it, and then say, "Ok, I'm going to go out and actually pay for this product I already have full access to for free"? There are no doubt people who do do that, but human nature says the majority illegally download because they'd rather not pay for something as long as it's easily gotten away with.
    SwoobGuitar
    So, lets say, you were born in the late 90's and you're into rock music, you're just going to buy every ****ing album from every ****ing rockband that's famous? Good luck with that. I'd rather buy a t-shirt or patch for my jacket (or go see them live) to support and promote the band, than buy an album I can already listen to.
    Kueller917
    I buy 90% of music I end up enjoying. The other 10% is either stuff have yet to get to or maybe a band that doesn't have available merch and isn't on tour yet in my area. For my favorite bands I have spent a lot of money. For the music I've streamed/downloaded/any method that doesn't give profits that I haven't paid for I wouldn't have even if I had heard it legally. There is legitimacy to the "try before buy" option.
    Heminator89
    This is a very weak argument. Nowadays almost all albums stream online before physical album release. Anyone wanting to "sample" the album can do that and then buy. This is merely an excuse for pirating.
    i_am_metalhead
    Hate to tell you this but buying a CD is only supporting the label. Royalties are practically non-existent these days. If you want to support an artist, go see them perform live.
    Abacus11
    Unless you know what it's like to work full time and not have a lot of disposable income your opinion on this subject doesn't really matter.
    thf24
    So meeting those criteria make it ok to steal others' work? By that logic, it should be ok for you to walk into the grocery store and take whatever you want as long as you work 40 hours a week and don't make a lot.
    stickman31
    Because I have heaps of money to spend on things I don't know the quality of.... good logic there kiddo
    Ibeanez
    I don't know which is more stupid, trying to ban from the internet, or calling internet access a human right.
    kdsprocket
    The music industry has screwed itself. How many people really buy a Cd any longer. If the purchase it they download it from some site. So there is no middle man, no packaging, no shipping,none of the overhead of the old record stores but yet the price has not been reduced to take all of this into affect. Okay there a few that go out and buy a cd but maybe its time to stop and that would cut cost further no need to manufacture cd's. The same goes for Movies. Greed has killed the music industry. How many people can afford to go to a concert these days? I am not condoning the act of piracy but the industry just isn't forward thinking. Their bottom line is dropping because of their greed. I miss the days of buying a new album...the 12" vinyl version. The smell when you open it. The art work of the jacket. The liner notes, the credits, The occasional poster, lyrics. Back then you got something that went with the music. They need to replace all this in a digital format
    Enix165
    I used to download music, just to test it out or to listen on my iPod if I couldn't actually buy it(I like a lot of early '80s speed/power metal, and...well, pretty hard to get most of that stuff in when it's been out of print for 20-odd years, and the small labels that take up some bands charge $30 for a demo or a badly-recorded EP without even remastering the thing...), but my friend actually got a call from Rogers saying they were pressing charges for "illegal distribution" about a week ago because he'd left his uTorrent open for a day to download something(!). Needless to say, looks like I'm going to be paying out the arse and waiting 3 weeks every time I want something that's not on a major label...eh, I guess we deserve it!
    cobhc1108
    if i lived in usa.....id be in jail right now! to be honest ALL my music is illegally downloaded
    DexterF
    Which gives the music mafia grounds to come up with demands for such "laws". How about you buy some and support the bands you like? At least the small ones?
    kiba56
    They should do it. IT will help the music industry so much it seem
    i_am_metalhead
    How will it help? If anything it will HURT the music industry. Most of the up-and-coming bands get publicity and get their name spread around through "illegal downloads". The more they fight pirating, the more they hurt the music industry. Before you know it all we'll have is the washed up, old bands that have been around for 30+ years.
    kiba56
    They can advertise through comercials on tv adds. *bands are losing alot of money not being able to sell as much as there cd's because people pirate and get there albums for free. There are other ways to get publicity for bands, heck advertise through facebook, most bands have a myspace page where people can here the music to. also you callign bands from liek 30 years ago washed up? well let me say those classic rock and 80's bands ahve a lot more talent then most of the music today. THEY PUT FORTH ALOT MORE WORK. also just think woudl you want to put forth all that work and waste money making albums jsut so people can pirate em and get em for free? I even read on another article that really the only way bands are makign good money is from touring.
    VaNilla YeTi
    Dude.. Bands don't get any money from CD's.. The only way to truly support a band is to see them live and/or buy they're merch.. Advertisement cost.. If pirating was illegal how do the bands get fans? Thats just the way it is.. Thats how bands are discovered.