The so-called "6 Strikes Rule" has been in the news since early 2012 and was implemented early this year. The basic premise is that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will begin penalizing customers who misuse copyrighted material on the web. Consumers fear they might face suspension or cancelation of service for perceived misuse on their IP address.
So what’s really happening? There is nothing officially sanctioned by the government that alludes to a number of "strikes." There is, however, an initiative coming from the newly formed Center for Copyright Information. According to its website, the Copyright Alert System has been implemented. The system appears to focus on peer to peer (P2P) networks sharing music and videos. Copyright infringement is reported by content owners. ISPs either educate consumers or mitigate the behavior. This video explains the system more fully:
What does this mean for consumers? First, lock down your network to prevent copyright infringement by unauthorized users. Be sure your wireless network is encrypted and password protected. Change the password as often as necessary. Secondly, use above-board means to access media whenever possible. Websites like Hulu exist to provide you with legal content and provide fair recognition and compensation to content creators or owners. Many other sources can help provide you with the content you love without breaking the bank.
It seems unlikely that image use will get much attention, at least in the first phase of the Copyright Alert System. Play it safe by sticking to mainstream sites to look at pictures. If you find somesuper funny pictures that you want to share, send a link rather than downloading and emailing the photos.
If you’re using images on blog posts or on your website, be sure they’re available for your use. Creative Commons is a great resource to find out more.
Books also seem to be a low-priority item, but it pays to be safe.Project Gutenberg provides free, high-quality e-books. They’re mostly classic and academic titles that are out of copyright, but you can get lots of good content and they’re expanding the catalog every day.
For more current print, audio and electronic books, check out your local library. Many libraries are now offering ebooks and audio books that you can "check out." The content does expire after a certain time limit, but you can often get the latest best sellers with minimal effort and no cost to you.
If you want to own music files, Freegal Music is an excellent resource. It’s generally provided through your local library. Each week you can legally download a limited number of tracks for free. If you don’t need to keep the music and just want to hear it on demand, Spotify is one of many sites to use. You can listen to streaming radio, full albums and tracks on demand from a computer. If you’re willing to spend a few extra dollars a month, you can do it all ad-free and access Spotify on mobile devices.
Will the copyright information system change the way you use the Internet? We’d love to hear from you!