Customers of major Internet providers like Time Warner, Comcast, and Verizon who pirate content online using BitTorrent and similar services may finally feel the effects of the long-rumored "Copyright Alert System" in the next several weeks.
Long championed by Hollywood studios and the music industry, the new system will collect IP addresses of people who illegally download content and then flag them to Internet providers. The providers will then issue a warning to users along with information on how to obtain content legally. Over time, punitive measures may be taken, such as slowing down an Internet connection. The first warning letters will go out within the next two months.
What if a customer feels he's been wrongly accused? A review process will be available, but it will cost a reported $35 for each challenge.