The proposed Copyright Alerts system has been delayed to an unspecified date.

Often referred to as “Six Strikes and You’re Out,” the policy was supposed to have been implemented in July 2012. Under it, Internet service providers like Time Warner and Verizon would voluntarily punish their customers who repeatedly use peer-to-peer filesharing software to illegally download copyrighted material.

The Center for Copyright Information, the group that represents ISPs and has designed the Copyright Alerts system, said that date was never meant to be a hard deadline.

“The dates mentioned ... are not hard deadlines but were intended to keep us on track to have the Copyright Alert System up and running as quickly as possible and in the most consumer friendly manner possible,” a representative told TorrentFreak, adding that they were now expecting to start by the end of 2012.

The idea of “graduated response” programs to combat Web piracy, in which users are repeatedly warned and subjected to greater and greater penalties, is heavily criticized.

The flagship program for Graduated Response, France’s HADOPI law, has had mixed results. It’s found to have reduced piracy and banned plenty of users, but failed to increase profits for copyright holders.

Besides, the Copyright Alerts system is based on the idea that ISPs should identify pirates by their computers’ Internet Protocol addresses. At least one judge recently tried to set legal precedent when he ruled that IP addresses can’t be used to identify individuals.

Photo by Steve Snodgrass