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The fight against piracy enters a new phase, but no resolution in sight

Copyright groups and online file sharers are engaged in attrition warfare that has led to confusing government and ISP involvement.  The battle lines have been drawn, and internet users downloading and sharing files run the low risk of warnings and possible enforcement.

The United States government claims to have no interaction -- but supports the new six-strikes policy -- with the recently created Center for Copyright Infringement (CCI) effort between ISPs and copyright groups.  The partnership will offer a sort of copyright alert and reeducation program that has only led to confusion and uncertainty among file sharers.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) group published a short blog post that highlights some issues related to the controversial framework.

Governments in the European Union have tried to find different methods to attack piracy, but have had varying results.  Spanish file sharing sites brought to court for linking to copyrighted works recently scored a victory, which only proves the difficulty in punishing these sites.  Meanwhile, Italian ISPs are facing legal action after ignoring a ban against a torrent site.

France implemented a three-strikes system to possibly boot repeat offenders, and more than 18 million file sharers have been tracked.  However, budget and manpower issues have only led to 470,000 warnings issued to first-time copyright violators.  Just 20,000 letters were sent out as second warnings, and only 10 people are at risk of having a judge personally review their file sharing case.

The cat-and-mouse game between file sharers and copyright holders will continue for the rest of 2011, while very little is being done to reach a mutual agreement.  For example, the use of three-strikes laws have done very little to intimidate pirates to stop file sharing, while ISPs are criticized by subscribers and terrorized by copyright groups. 

Instead, BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer file sharers are getting better at masking their identities to prevent detection by watch groups.  However, the federal government has moved to domain seizures as a critical method to help fight Internet piracy, with the practice expected to accelerate.

Expect to see continued copyright group efforts against file sharers, while ISPs are also forced into turning over users rather than face court issues.  The federal government and the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have been recruited to lend an effective hand against pirates.





"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs






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