AT&T could very well be the first Internet service provider to begin what is being called the "six strikes" anti-piracy campaign.
Last year, a new entity called the Center for Copyright Information was formed. The CCI teamed up with what is believed to be every major service provider, including AT&T, to develop a new six-stage system.
About 75% of all online users are represented by the ISPs involved. The program, officially called the Copyright Alert Sysem, is being touted as an “educational” platform with the mindset that a lot of online piracy offenders may not realize what they’re doing is illegal, or if they do they might not realize the risk and implications of the process.
Internal training documents from AT&T show the company is really getting ready to start its version of this program. In the alleged documents, it writes, "In an effort to assist content owners with combating on-line piracy, AT&T will be sending alert e-mails to customers who are identified as having been downloading copyrighted content without authorization from the copyright owner. The reports are made by the content owners and are of IP-addresses that are associated with copyright-infringing activities."
Only after AT&T catches someone pirating content more than five times will actual "punishments" come into play. Users may find their Internet, or at least access to some sites, blocked. They'll be able to remove the block by taking an online anti-piracy course.
Further details are not perfectly clear, but AT&T does say that it has the right to give user information to content providers for repeat offenders, which could potentially lead to prosecution.