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Last week, RIAA CEO Cary Sherman confirmed that the country's largest ISPs will voluntarily roll out by July 1 a "graduated response" program aimed at discouraging unauthorized downloading. A Memorandum of Understanding published last summer outlines the program, which was developed without user feedback. Under the new system, a rightsholder accusing an ISP subscriber of infringment will trigger a series of ever-increasing consequences. The responses are graduated in the sense that they escalate after each accusation, beginning with steps aimed at educating users about copyright and culminating in the Orwellian-sounding "mitigation measures" -- bandwidth throttling or account suspension.As we said last year, this deal is tilted against subscribers. That's not surprising, given that no one solicited subscriber input in advance. In fact, some online commenters have expressed concern that the agreement runs afoul of antitrust law.What can users do at this point? In some cases, they can vote with their feet. This agreement is voluntary for now, and the while participating ISPs include many major companies -- AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cablevision, and Time Warner Cable -- there are other options. Users lucky enough to have a choice of providers for their Internet service should consider switching to a service that opted not to "cooperate." For example, companies like Sonic and Cox Communications have a history of fighting for their users where they can, and are notably absent from this arrangement.
So I cant get 3-D surround out of a DVD-Walkman and headphones?Damn!