The White House and its big media sponsors have "reached out" to ISPs telling them to join them in their campaign to crush the copyright rebellion or face the consequences.  (Source: LucasFilm)

Under the new plan, after six "strikes", users will have their internet connections severely hindered.  (Source: Ed Zurga/Associated Press)

Media lobbyists have poured tens of millions of dollars into the campaigns of active elected officials, now those payments have finally paid off.  (Source: Google Images)
Under threat, ISPs begrudgingly accept their conscriptment

Copyright enforcement is a big headache.  It's a big headache for the media industry as it's a money-losing proposition.  It's a big headache for the U.S. Senate who had nearly 10 percent of their collective campaign expenses paid by media lobbyists.  

It seems neither the federal government or big media wants to pay themselves for the massive cost of copyright enforcement, so they've cooked up a clever plan -- force internet service providers to become copyright cops and police the internet.

I. Welcome to New America, Where ISPs are Copyright Cops

Under the new "six strikes" plan, AT&T, Inc. (T), Verizon Communications, Inc. (VZ), Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC), and Time Warner Cable Inc. (TWC) vow to protect customers’ privacy, but will forward messages they receive about infringing IPs to subscribers.  After five or six of these "strikes", subscribers may face penalties, such as "temporary reductions of Internet speeds, redirection to a landing page until the subscriber contacts the ISP to discuss the matter or reviews and responds to some educational information about copyright, or other measures that the ISP may deem necessary to help resolve the matter."

The plan was inspired by similar plans proposed in other nations (most of which didn't pass) [1][2][3].

The plan is reportedly the work of several powerful players, led by the Obama administration.  New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) is also thought to have played a key role in bringing the parties together for talks.

Victoria Espinel, US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, cheers the plan commenting, "The joining of Internet service providers and entertainment companies in a cooperative effort to combat online infringement can further this goal [of supporting jobs and exports] and we commend them for reaching this agreement. We believe it will have a significant impact on reducing online piracy."

She says conscripting ISPs to act as copyright police is the key to "win the future".

II. Big Media Gets What It Paid For

There's little secret that it's also the key to "win the future [election]" for many politicians.  Media lobbyists have been among the most generous in terms of campaign contributions, and contributions, of course, typically equal election in federal politics.  Of course, without results, media's generous sponsorship of the elected officials (which includes 10 percent of all active Senators' estimated campaign costs) might dry up.

While media lobbyists wish the U.S. government would agree to imprison filesharers, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry indicates it still feels got what it paid for though. In a statement, the organization writes, "[This] agreement also sends an important signal internationally. It adds to the momentum already created by initiatives such as graduated response and blocking of infringing websites in other countries, and is the latest mark of recognition that ISP cooperation is the most effective way of addressing online piracy."

The question of how the ISPs will enforce the plan is a tricky one, though.  As monitoring users and contacting them will likely be expensive, many believe ISPs will turn to third parties to police their connections.  However, that brings questions about possible data loss or abuse of fair use content.

And of course not all ISPs are onboard with the plan.  And if the copyright holders push to hard there's no telling if some of the supporting ISPs will rebel.

That said the White House reportedly is heavily leveraging the threat of legislation to coerce the ISPs into begrudgingly sticking to the policing scheme.  After all, if the free market isn't willing to do it on its own, the Obama administration would be more than happy to force them to via federal mandate.

"If you can find a PS3 anywhere in North America that's been on shelves for more than five minutes, I'll give you 1,200 bucks for it." -- SCEA President Jack Tretton

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