questionsis the copyright alert system aka 6 strikeā€¦


Do they publish or otherwise communicate the "strike" to anyone but the customer? I don't think it would qualify as slander if they only told you they think you were doing wrong.

I just can't think of any other situation where a company actually rats out its customers to an unrelated company or to the government, except in cases of serious crimes. I would liken this situation to the manufacturers of cars setting them up to automatically inform your insurance company or the police whenever you are speeding. Setting aside the social and moral issues, it seems to me to be just a stupid way to conduct business.


I believe that slander and libel require malicious intent. I also believe that they both require the statement to be stated as fact, and the if the slanderer or libeler is stating OPINION, they're on safe grounds.

For example, if I said "In my opinion, Garth Mader is a tool.", I'd be on safe legal grounds, whereas if someone were to state "After extensive investigation, facts show that Garth Mader is a tool", and they didn't have any evidence to back it up, they would be opening themselves up to legal problems.

*Of course, this "Garth Mader" person is purely a fictitious character, any resemblance to any actual person, living or dead, is purely coincidental.... After all, what person in their right mind would name their kid Garth Mader, RIGHT?

edit: Of course when you sign up for service with an ISP, you are agreeing to all sorts of things that may give them permission to say whatever they want about you.


It is not. I resent that. Slander is spoken. In print, it's libel.
-J. Jonah Jameson


@kamikazeken: Careful there. You're at risk of being accused of 'bullying' by people who don't seem to understand the word itself, let alone the concept, and instead throw it out ignorantly in an attempt to jump on the current fashionable bandwagon.


this is an unusual question in that the accusation(potential libel) is not in public but if it was done over the internet in the form of an email then the communication may qualify as public with the email system being very weak in security enabling others to potentially read the email without permission from the intended recipient. Check with a lawyer.


IANAL, but I don't see how there is even a suggestion of slander or libel involved.

Among other things, both slander and libel require some "person" other than the speaker or publisher of the statement and its recipient to be privy to the statement. My saying privately to the CEO of a company, for instance, that he is "deformed, crooked, Ill-faced, worse bodied, shapeless everywhere, vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind, stigmatical in making, worse in mind" [1] would not be slander, nor would it be libel if I wrote the same to him in a private letter.

As nearly as I can tell, under the CAS the alleged offender is being advised in a private communication that it appears s/he is violating copyright laws. The communication is known only to her/him and the ISP via the contracted services of the ISP's agent.

All that aside, I'm with the EFF on believing this is very bad public policy.

[1] Thank you, Will Shakespeare.


I have not had a notice but was jsut wondering, especially because I don not know the manner in which the notice appears. From the screen shots I have seen of the notices, when you attempt to go to a web page it looks like the notice is 'super imposed' (for lack of a better word) or perhaps you are diverted to the notice page and must click an acceptance of notice button. I just figured that anyone using your network might see it. IDK if that is a differentiating factor but from your answers fellow wootizens it seems like a 3rd party need be involved. Thoughts?


@mybestuser1: That's actually kind of a hilarious "hoisted by their own petards" angle. By rendering our internet usage to be no longer private but subject to their monitoring, they have made anything they say to us via online communication effectively public and thus potentially libelous. Brilliant!


@magic cave: But this places them trying to argue opposite sides. If they are monitoring our account usage to report to their media overlords, then they cannot claim they thought an email was a private form of communication...


@moondrake: For it to be libel or slander, I'd have to be able to prove that the communication was heard or read by at least one other party, and an investigating company acting on behalf of the ISP is generally considered to be the same entity for most legal matters. You're not going to get a copy of the email they send to me about my copyright violation. Email is not "public," any more than a simple telephone call from thee to me would be considered public.

I'm at a loss to understand how anyone can consider email to be de facto public. (Although weirder things have been known to happen.Never bet on horse races or court cases!)

The other issue here, and this is likely to be the controlling factor, is that your contract with your ISP/cable company almost certainly gives them permission to monitor your usage for all sorts of reasons. I suspect they can also change or block your usage based on violations of their terms of usage.

It's gonna be interesting.


@philosopherott: I don't know what you mean by "on your network," but that doesn't sound likely. When I try to access the New York Times online, I usually get a notice that says I have to register to gain access. I am the only person who sees that notice. (Then I log in and can read what I please on their site.)

What makes you think that any blocking notice would be visible to anyone other than you yourself?


@magic cave: Not everyone is the sole user of their modem. If I understand what was said, this notice is set to block access to all web sites until it is acknowledged. My gaming group shares the access codes to all our modems so when we are at one another's homes gaming we can use online devices. Anything that is made visible to anyone accessing my modem would be viewable by anyone in my social group. I'm not a lawyer or any kind of expert on libel. I just think it's crazy that they can insist that you are not entitled to privacy when they want to monitor you, but that you are when they want to threaten you. Seems like they ought not be able to have it both ways.


@moondrake: Those (gaming groups) are new perspectives for me. Guess we'll just have to wait to see how it plays out, so to speak.


@moondrake: I've thought about this a bit more, and I think you'd still end up without a case. Scenario: you've been a naughty person and your ISP is going to fuss at you for it. They place a block on your account telling you to contact them before you can use their service again. I troop over to your house, we both settle in to play our game, and ZAP! there's the notice on your screen, which I can now see.

My guess is it's still not actionable; the only reason I know about the ISPs message is because you gave me access to your monitor or whatever. The ISP sent the info only to you; you shared it (even inadvertently) with me. They have no fault in this at all.

Let's say the ISP sends you an email containing all sorts of criminal allegations, and you forward that email to me. Still no fault of the ISP: I would never have known about their allegations if you hadn't told me about them.

IANAL, but I'm pretty sure the ISP has lawyers who've vetted this thoroughly. Gonna be fun.


@magic cave: Yes, there are about 6-12 in the group, we spend 6-8 hours gaming Fridays and Sundays at one another's homes. Not computer gaming, tabletop gaming. Those of us that host the games give everyone in the group access to our modems so we can use laptops, tablets and phones to get online during lulls in the games. My house is located right in the center of town, so several of these friends have keys so they can use it as a hangout between classes at the nearby college or for whatever reason they are in central. It's useful to me as I work a 10/4 schedule and they keep my dog company some of the time. My best friend is retired and spends a lot of time doing handyman stuff at my house. My modem can be accessed at random times by a fairly wide group of people. How this differs from your recent post is that I may not be at home when this occurs, I haven't "shared" this with them. I am not conflicting with your assessment of whether it is actionable or not, though.


@moondrake: yeah, IANAL either, but once you share your access to the modem/router/network, YOU are responsible for anything those people see on your network. Kind of like if you took nude pics of yourself, put them in a kitchen drawer, and then told your visitors to feel free to open any drawer in your kitchen. Would you then hold the photographer of those nude pics responsible for showing them to your guests? Of course not.

*just my common sense opinion. For my non-licensed legal opinion, I charge $2.99 minute.

edit: EWWWWW! I just realized what a nasty acronym iANAL is!


@magic cave: To set the record straight, you are aware that email is usually not encrypted, right?

When you connect to your email server, the data may go through a dozen other computers -- some may be owned by your ISP and some owned by your email service and some completely unrelated to both. Those unrelated computers can have packet sniffers installed that are smart enough to rebuild the data into readable packets.

So to say that an email is private is the true intent but in actuality it can be read by others that it was not originally intended. Sites that start with HTTPS are encrypted. If you're using POP/SMTP to retrieve your mail, those are not encrypted. You can encrypt your sign in credentials if your service has that feature but not the actual message itself.

So another question is about how my ISP would send me an email anyway. They don't have my email address. Perhaps they created an email account for me on their server but I don't use that account.


@cengland0: (1) The issue of email was really only an aside, since the original concern was about people on the same network.

(2) I often receive snail mail addressed to my hairdresser's business partner, who lives three streets north of me and has the same house number as I do. Does that mean the sender of that mail intended the message to be available to me? No. It means the sender sent a private message that was misdirected in error.

In a former life, I was a registered lobbyist. While specific wording of legislation is extremely important, when conflicts of "meaning" arise (often when an appeal is made) the "legislative intent," the discussion of who said what during consideration of passage of the law, is often given great weight. From what I've been able to learn, private communication is what is intended by the proponents of the CAS.

OTOH, I also used to tell reporters that my mama taught me never to bet on horse races and court cases. We'll all just have to wait and see.


@kamikazeken: It's also affirmed (in a mirror-image sense) in appealing a CAS ruling on the grounds that your account was used by someone else. Per Wiki: "The defense of unauthorized use of account is not allowed if the user was a member of the subscriber's household or an invitee, and after the first assertion of this defense, the subscriber must demonstrate by "clear and convincing evidence" that the subscriber "took reasonable steps to secure the account following the first occurrence of unauthorized use." [1]

ISP service, like credit/check cards, generally have the same responsibility issue: the owner is responsible for the actions of anyone knowingly given access to the account.

[1] A credit-union member, attempting to dispute a second series of check-card purchases made by her teenage son, told me, "It's not my fault! He keeps stealing the card out of my purse. What do you want me to do, lock it up in a safe?" Well, yes, if that's what it takes to keep him from using it.


@magic cave: Working many years in the credit card industry, I've seen frequent cases of family theft of credit cards.

In most of those cases, they are easily resolved when we tell the account owner that it's true they will not be accountable for any unauthorized purchases they did not make but we will prosecute the family member that stole the account. In every case I've witnessed, the account holder ended up paying the balance in full so their family did not have to go to jail.


@cengland0: Yep. Been there, said that. Didn't keep this particular member from complaining to us a second time, unfortunately. I also suggested she could just cancel the card and use only cash; that wasn't especially well received, either.