Report: Comcast Sends Out Around 1,800 Copyright Alert Notices Each Day

Inside the lobby of Comcast HQ (photo: Kevin Burkett)

Inside the lobby of Comcast HQ (photo: Kevin Burkett)

It’s been almost a year since the nation’s largest Internet service providers began using the Copyright Alert System, better known as Six Strikes, which identifies potentially illegal file-sharing and sends a series of increasingly severe warnings before the ISP penalizes the user. According to a new report from TorrentFreak, in the short time since Six Strikes launched, Comcast has sent out at least 625,000 such warnings.

That’s around 1,800 warnings each and every day. It’s not known exactly how many individual Comcast users have received these notifications since you have to assume that some subscribers have received multiple alerts from Kabletown. Even if every single alert was issued to an individual user, that would only represent around 3% of Comcast’s customers. So you have to figure that the actual number of suspected pirates is even smaller.

Of course, some folks have deliberately tried to set off the system but were unsuccessful, so we have no idea how many people should be getting Six Strikes notices but aren’t.

TorrentFreak says it does not have information about the number of alerts sent out by other ISPs like Time Warner Cable or Verizon, but as Comcast is both the nation’s largest ISP and has the largest number of BitTorrent users, one could reasonably assume it is sending out the most Six Strikes alerts.

One thing to remember is that a user’s strikes vanish after 12 months if no additional alerts are sent to that user. So people who were flagged last winter or spring but haven’t received notifications since then will soon be back to zero strikes.

Meanwhile, Comcast is reportedly working on a system that would identify suspected file-sharers in real time and, when possible, give them the opportunity to acquire the pirated content through legitimate means.

And AT&T recently applied for a patent on a system that would flag users for “bandwidth abuse,” a term so vague it could mean anything from illegal file-sharing to simply using too much bandwidth, and respond in a variety of ways that include limiting that users’ data allotment or charging them fees or a higher rate.


Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.