Internet service providers in the United States have outlined a warning system aimed at curbing illegal downloading.

Major ISPs across the pond, like Comcast and AT&T, have joined forces with the key US music and movie industry bodies in order to clamp down on the rampant online piracy

The planned 'Copyright Alert' notification system would send a warning each time a user downloads pirated material and would give each account holder six strikes against their name.

After the sixth infringement, the ISP would consider introducing "mitigation measures" like slowing download speeds as a punishment.

No shut off

However, broadband providers would not shut off the user's account. nor would they pass over the names of offenders to the entertainment companies, who would then drag them through the courts.

Internet users would also have the option to appeal if they think they have been singled out unfairly.

The ISPs and content providers are planning to form a new group called the Center for Copyright Information in order to educate the online community about the new system.

"Consumers have a right to know if their broadband account is being used for illegal online content theft, or if their own online activity infringes on copyright rules - inadvertently or otherwise - so that they can correct that activity," said James Assey of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association.