Verizon may be joining the ranks of Internet service providers that send subscribers who illegally download or upload music files notices on behalf of the Recording Industry of America, according to sources who spoke with CNet. Verizon has not responded to my questions on this issue, but the CNet story says the letters will only notify subscribers that they may have erred; it will not threaten them with disconnection. We covered this trend last March when AT&T began experimenting with these letters:
AT&T reached out today to let me know that it doesn’t issue take-down notices to its subscribers, but merely forwards the notice from the copyright owner along with an AT&T cover letter. The cover letter informs the subscriber without actually accusing them of illegal activity how they might find themselves in the position of receiving such a letter, and reminds them of AT&T’s terms of service that prohibit sharing copyrighted material.
If Verizon does plan to send notices on behalf of the RIAA or other rights organizations, it’s most likely because the ISP wants to get on the good side of content owners that it needs to make deals with in order to offer compelling content via its IPTV and even its broadband products. Is this the beginning of a three-strikes policy, whereby those accused of pirating content may find themselves disconnected, or is this is merely an effort to placate content owners?