US ‘6 Strike’ Rule Starts This Sunday, How Are You Preparing?

While UK regulators are trying to move ahead with a 3 strikes rule, US ISPs have cut a deal with rights holders so that they will go ahead with a ‘Six Strike Rule’ in the US. While ZeroPaid had some suggestions for dealing with this, we want to hear from you. How do you plan on dealing with this?

Note: This is an article I wrote that was published elsewhere first. It has been republished here for archival purposes

DSLReports is reminding us that the deal between rights holders and US ISPs to implement a so-called “Six Strike Rule” could very well begin this Sunday. From what we’ve seen of how these types of laws or rules come to be, this is much more unique in that it didn’t come about through regulation or government intervention necessarily. Still, that doesn’t necessarily make the rules any less ill-advised.

What exactly is in the six strikes rule for copyright infringement? That depends on which ISP you are referring to. Still, the general rule apparently has been that once a user receives their sixth strike, the ISPs are not obliged to disconnect the user, but by the time they get there, they would have to prove that they have read some industry sponsored content that alleges that file-sharing is somehow harmful to the industry (even though science says otherwise).

If a strike is sent incorrectly to an individual, the burden of proof falls on the consumer who has to pay $35 just to have the strike reviewed. In other words, its a system of guilty until proven innocent. The system also relies on the highly unreliable IP address as proof of any wrong-doing. So, in the advent of connection sharing and Wi-Fi, there is simply no way of knowing for sure that the person behind the IP address is really the person that pays for the connection (or if the ISP subscriber is even aware of what’s going on with the IP address).

Many people have already suggested how they plan on dealing with this new reality.

One frequently undiscussed preparation would be securing the WiFi. The people who would unfairly suffer the most from this six strike rule would be those who aren’t tech savvy, who don’t do file-sharing and play by the rules. Those people would be hit hard by this because this rule would create an incentive for those that do file-share to resort to all sorts of methods to hide their tracks. One way is to go around hunting for unsecure WiFi hotspots and use the connection for their file-sharing needs. If the IP address gets caught, who cares? It’s only going to be traced back to the unwitting individual that owns their connection. Even if the hotspot is secure, there are ways of breaking into such hotspots anyway.

Another response is what many have already mentioned – using a VPN service. This is because when the IP address is traced, it will only go to the VPN service and not the user. This stops any form of investigation that simply relies on an IP address dead in its tracks. Preferably, users would want to use a non-US VPN service to frustrate any possible investigation.

Others will more likely stick to their private BitTorrent websites because not just anyone can access what is on such trackers. If it’s accessible, the problem would be immediately spotted and it would be only a matter of time before the ratting user would be worked out of the system (on a good site at least anyway).

Some would more likely stick to UseNet. Since the network is user to server, it’s much harder to track IP addresses unless the authorities own the servers in question. It’s simply a technological hurdle for authorities more than anything else.

A few suggest making a switch to the darknet where users operate on an invite only basis (much like private BitTorrent websites). We’re not sure how popular something like darknet usage would be, but that could depend on how copyright rules are enforced through these new rules.

So, ZeroPaid would like to know, how do you plan on preparing for when the hammer comes down on consumers innocent or otherwise?

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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