The nation's five major Internet service providers will start sending warning notices this week to users who are illegally sharing music, movies or television shows. The Copyright Alert System, organized by the recording and film industry, is being activated to target consumers who may be engaging in piracy using peer-to-peer software.
Under the new system, complaints will prompt an Internet service provider -- such as Verizon or AT&T -- to notify a customer whose Internet address has been detected sharing files illegally. A person will be given up to six opportunities to stop before the Internet provider will take more drastic steps, such as temporarily slowing their connection.
Proponents say the focus is on educating consumers, but they acknowledge it's unlikely to deter chronic violators.