Time Warner, perhaps hip to the fact that I haven't bothered to check my meat space snail mail mailbox in the last three weeks, took matters into their own hands and inserted this warning directly into my browser.
At this point, file sharing warnings via snail mail and e-mail are pretty commonplace. But this is the first time I've heard of an ISP taking the matter straight to the browser. At first I was worried, and then I was a bit annoyed, but I have to say, I give them credit for giving me the benefit of the doubt here.
The purpose of this email
and by email they mean the electronic message they forced onto my screen
is to remind you that the distribution of copyrighted material in this fashion may violate both copyright laws and Road Runner's terms of service, and to tell you a bit about peer-to-peer programs, the dangers they can pose to your computer and our network, and the steps you can take to protect yourself.
Considering all of the horror stories you hear, this was a pretty reasonable intervention. All I had to do was click, "I am aware of this issue and will take steps to resolve it," and I was on my merry way. Whether those steps should be deleting all the copyrighted material off my computer, removing my P2P software, getting my shit together and using a private tracker, or just trying a little bit harder to resist the urge to download Nic Cage's entire filmography on Mininova, they don't say. But as Road Runner didn't treat me like a criminal, I'll respect them by not being one. Or at least being a sneakier one.
For some people, one copyright violation notice from their ISP is enough to scare them straight forever. Others wear their warnings like badges of honour. What are your experiences with ISPs and copyright infringement? Weigh in in the comments.