by technology editor Ian Bush

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The music and movie industries are teaming up with Comcast, Verizon, and several other Internet Service Providers in a push to fight piracy that’s expected to take a “six strikes and you’re out” approach.

These days, when you download that new album or feature film, usually nothing happens — or maybe you get sued.

“Under the eyes of the law, downloading a piece of music from one of these file-sharing sites without authorization is no different that walking into a store and stealing a physical good,” says Rob D’Ovidio, associate professor of criminal justice at Drexel University.

Next month, five ISPs are expected to start their crackdown. According to documents — leaked AT&T U-Verse training materials — obtained by, it appears the program will give you five chances — telling you why what you’re doing is wrong and warning that further violations could spell big trouble.

“It’s definitely not a zero-tolerance type of approach,” D’Ovidio explains. “They’re working with the customer, recognizing there’s still a lot of misinformation out there — especially among the younger users, they don’t know what’s acceptable and what’s not. Copyright law is a confusing thing for lawyers, let alone teenagers.”

Initially, D’Ovidio says, the ISPs “are not going to cut the user off; they’re going to put them through steps of educational tutorials that they’ll have to go through online.”

But steal content once more, and you could face serious action — like a lawsuit from the copyright holders.

“The Internet Service Providers don’t want to lose customers; at the same time, they do have a responsibility,” D’Ovidio tells KYW Newsradio. “By the fact that someone is watching, and somebody knows where you’re going, hopefully that can serve as a deterrent.”

He says there’s also room for improvement when it comes to the content creators themselves.

“It’s been shown if the industry can put out alternatives that are low-cost, easy to use, where consumers can get access to those files very quickly, people do shy away from the use of illegal services,” D’Ovidio says.

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