File Sharing via Torrent Sites: No Three Strikes You're Out, Three Thanks Instead
Article by George Norman
On 30 Mar 2009
If you are a torrent fan and frequent file sharer, you are very much aware of the “three strikes and you’re out” proposition that big media companies are trying to impose on ISPs (internet service providers). Recent reports on the RIAA (recording Industry Association of America) and MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) working with ISPs to kick file-sharers and alleged copyright infringers off the web have been making their rounds, scaring some and spurring wrath in others. The thing is that these reports are just dressing up an old bit of news and serving it up as something new.

The whole thing started with reports that AT&T and Comcast were working with the RIAA on a “three strikes” deal. The info was reproduced by numerous outlets, despite the fact that this was not news (they have been sending copyright infringement warnings for several years now) and despite the fact that this info was not based on actual facts, it was all a fabrication (AT&T and Comcast came out to disavow any participation in a piracy crackdown, alongside the RIAA).


From a legal point of view, any copyright infringement notice an ISP receives from the RIAA or MPAA must be forwarded to the user. This is nothing new and it is nothing to worry about. “If you receive a warning, all copyright holders know about you at this stage is your IP-address and what files were (partially) shared via your account, or more accurately - the bill payer’s account. The MPAA, RIAA and others don’t know your name and they never will unless they get a court order forcing your ISP to hand over the information. In the bigger picture, this is very rare. Receiving a regular infringement notice is nothing to be worried about. However, if you download copyrighted files without authorization from the copyright holder you are breaking the law in some countries. If you receive a warning without having shared anything yourself (which happens quite often) then there’s nothing to worry about,” explains TorrentFreak.

The ISP is obliged to forward these notifications, but this is a long way from booting you off the web. Keep in mind that ISPs are in business to make money, and they make money by providing you with internet access; no access = no money. They must also take into consideration the user backlash in case they decide to play second fiddle to the RIAA and MPAA.

On a lighter side, it must be said that Luxembourg-based music platform and community Jamendo (visit here), which lets you download music for free, is putting a spin on the “three strikes” topic – instead of three strikes, you get three thanks.

You will receive a thank you email if you download music files provided by Jamendo and share them with your friends. If you are an active downloader you will receive a second thank you and an “accomplice kit.” If you take things further and become a “Jamendo Ambassador” you will get an pack consisting with plenty of goodies: Jamendo t-shirt, USB stick, stickers, etc.

“On Jamendo we try to make that relationship stronger, and we have seen over the years that it creates much more value, even for the artist though great feedback, donations, a large community/fanbase, loyalty and viral marketing. Our job is to make the artists understand that, and we have 10,000 of them on the platform now that do,” said Jamendo founder Sylvain Zimmer in an interview for TorrentFreak.

Tags: Torrent, File Sharing, Piracy, Three Strikes
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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