The discussion about movie and television show piracy is raging right now, which makes sense given the tension between a massive online movement and the conglomerated studios seeking to curb their enthusiasm for downloading without paying. The bottom line is that when The Oatmeal makes a comic about it, you know things are getting serious.

And after a crushing defeat over SOPA/PIPA, groups like the MPAA and RIAA are getting serious about firing back. Their latest weapon took three years to build and involved the cooperation of the leading Internet Service Providers (including AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon). According to Variety, the Copyright Alert System will go into place this Spring.

So what is it?

PC Mag has a thorough, yet simple explanation of how it will affect customers, but the short version is that if you are suspected of pirating material online, you’re ISP will send you an alert. After six of them, the ISP can then respond by slowing down connectivity or redirecting your browser to a page informing you that you need to contact the company to clear up the situation. Furthermore, your information won’t be shared…unless it’s by subpoena or court order. That means that if you download Game of Thrones to stick it to HBO, you could end up hearing directly from them. That would probably be the best time to offer your thoughts on how they could update their product delivery system.

Of course, it’s not just that show. Movies and television shows of all kinds will fall under this new system partially orchestrated by the major studios. It’s the first all-player version of Best Practices, but the question is whether it will work. Slower download speeds seems to injure the heart of piracy by removing the physical ability to engage in it, but will it be long before an effective work-around is invented?

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