S.O.P.A. and P.I.P.A. may have been shut down, but the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America, along with the nation's largest Internet service providers have another hand to play against Internet pirates. According to a report from Wired's Threat Level blog, AT&T, Cablevision Systems, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon will "institute a so-called six-strikes plan, the 'Copyright Alert System'" by the end of the year.
The plan, which has the backing of the Obama administration, calls for ISPs to start "mitigation measures" after a user racks up four offenses. Mitigation measures—attempts to get the user to stop downloading illegal content—range from sending the person to a landing page where they learn bout copyright infringement to the reduction of their Internet speed.
On the first offense, which will take multiple copyright infringements to notch, the user will get an e-mail from their ISP telling them that their account was used to download illegal content. On the second, they'll get a message describing the ramifications of downloading illegal content. After that, things get a bit more serious.
From Threat Level:
After four alerts, according to the program, “mitigation measures” may commence. They include “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 (as specified in published policies) that the ISP may deem necessary to help resolve the matter.”
It seems like you (and whoever else uses your Internet) will need to download an insane amount of illegal material to see any real consequences. You even get a freebie: If accused of piracy, you get one opportunity to claim it was due to someone bumming your wi-fi.