No one involved thinks that these alerts will stop determined downloaders. It’s simple enough to shield an IP address that anyone who wants to keep snagging movies or music from networks like BitTorrent should be able to figure out how, well before their ISP gets around to sending a fifth of sixth warning.

Disclosure: CJR has received funding from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to cover intellectual-property issues, but the organization has no influence on the content.


Sarah Laskow is a writer and editor in New York City. Her work has appeared in print and online in Grist, Good, The American Prospect, Salon, The New Republic, and other publications.