The Wall Street Journal and Ars Technica are reporting that the RIAA has announced a fairly dramatic change in its strategy to fight piracy.
Beginning immediately, it will no longer sue individual file sharers or do dumb things like harass universities.
Instead, the RIAA will report suspected infringers to ISPs, who will then investigate their customers and issue warnings or implement restrictions as needed. The benefit to ISPs who play along (participation is voluntary) is they’ll be able to better control congestion by applying this policy—something they’ve been trying to do for a while now as their customers keep using more and more bandwidth.
Ars Technica notes:
Suddenly, ISPs gain a tremendous new tool. One study in the UK showed that most people sharing music would stop when made aware that their activity was being tracked and that they were not, in fact, anonymous. Should that hold true in the US, ISPs would presumably see massive decreases in P2P traffic. The customer notifications can be blasted out by e-mail, making the whole process quick and easy for ISPs. As is usual for these sorts of schemes, questions still remain about what sorts of judicial processes will be in place to contest notifications and penalties, and what happens to a household Internet connection when Dad finds his access canceled even though he’s never shared a file in his life?
“No more lawsuits: ISPs to work with RIAA, cut off P2P users” [Ars Technica]