Three Strikes: Out?

The Guardian reported this week that “rights holders will have to obtain a court order before punishing persistent offenders by reducing or cutting off their internet connections.”

This is an important step in the right direction. For too long, rights holders and their agents have been able to make allegations without fear of repurcussions, even though loss of internet access can be a terrible problem for customers, especially as more government services move online. In the US, we’ve even seen rights holder agents acting against legitimate publishing by TV production companies – these groups really are out of control!

There are still unanswered questions about who pays when an allegation is made, with the cost usually being left with the customer, either directly (through having to pay the ISP an admin fee for the allegation) or indirectly (through higher ISP fees). Hopefully the courts would rule fairly on who should pays the costs in each case.

The next step would be to prohibit things like Karoo’s Three Strikes as unfair terms in consumer contracts.

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