US Internet Provider Crosses A Dangerous Line: Suspected Of Copyright Infringement Customers Get Their Accounts Suspended For Life
Although Mediacom – one of the prominent internet providers in the US – is not to be a part of the six-strikes response system, the company is decided to punish its customers by permanently cutting their internet access, if they are suspected of illegal file-sharing.
Usually rights holders send DMCA takedown notices to ISPs. Then, internet providers either take action based on these notices or choose to ignore them. Mediacom, however, chose to apply their own policies, and they include the permanent disconnection of an internet account after a third strike.
Here’s what the company has in mind, as seen on their official website:
Strike 1: After the first DMCA notice the account is flagged and the subscriber receives a letter informing him or her about the alleged violation.
Strike 2: The second DMCA notice is more serious and results in an account suspension. Internet access can only be reinstated if the subscriber fills out some paperwork.
Strike 3: After the third DMCA notice it is game over for the subscriber. The account holder in question will lose Internet access and he or she is banned for life.
“Banned for life” is the reason we’ve decided to write this report. Even if a Mediacom customer is going to say that someone else used the account, that’s not something the provider cares about. For Mediacom, the account holder is completely responsible for what happens with his or hers connection, with no exception. Even worse, the provider sometimes applies an early termination fee.
What’s really appalling is that not even under the six-strikes legislation an internet account is to be banned forever. It’s simply unconceivable. The EFF already commented on the issue.
“Given the importance of connectivity these days, it’s extremely unfortunate that any ISP would terminate after three DMCA notices,” Corynne McSherry told TF.
“DMCA notices are merely accusations — they are not proof of wrongdoing, and ISPs should not treat them as such. Where possible, I would urge customers of any ISP that has a strict three-strikes policy to vote with their feet and find an ISP that puts its customers first.”
Leaving Mediacom could be an option, but not for those living in certain areas where the company is the only internet provider. However, their subscribers do get the chance to counter allegations of copyright infringement.
“Once this [counter notification] paperwork is returned, Mediacom turns it over to the copyright holder, who pursues action as they choose. This may include legal action such as lawsuits between the copyright holder and the customer,” Mediacom explained.
But going against Hollywood or the entertainment industry altogether is not something anyone affords.
So, how did this happen? How is it possible that in this 21st century society a major internet provider gets to step on a basic human right, in America – land of the free?