We've been wondering what major American internet providers would do to thwart supposed pirates beyond nag them senseless; other than leaks surrounding AT&T's reeducation process, we've mostly been left in the dark. There's a better picture of the consequences now that Time Warner Cable and Verizon have unveiled their strategies at an Internet Society conference. Verizon's approach is an attempt to straddle the line between angry media studios and the basic need to communicate: if copyright complaints reach the fifth or sixth notice, Verizon will throttle the connection for two to three days without instituting outright blocks. TWC's method may be tougher to ignore -- the cable provider will redirect claimed infringers to a custom page and restrict what they can visit. While it's not clear just how limited access will be, it's doubtful anyone will want to find out.
Not surprisingly, critics like the Electronic Frontier Foundation aren't happy with the restrictions as a whole, and point to the Center for Copyright Information allegedly going back on its vows of impartiality -- it notes that the anti-piracy initiative's reviewer is a previous RIAA lobbying firm, and that many of the real technical details are partially censored despite promises of transparency. The Center hasn't responded to those challenges, but we're somewhat comforted when it claims there won't be draconian attempts to catch everyone, at least not in the foreseeable future. We'd still be sure to lock down any WiFi hotspots to avoid false accusations; ignoring any ISP warnings could soon lead to more than just a sternly-worded message.
*Verizon has acquired AOL, Engadget's parent company. However, Engadget maintains full editorial control, and Verizon will have to pry it from our cold, dead hands.