AT&T is cracking down on customers that might have pirated copyrighted content, according to a new report.
Starting within the next week, AT&T will remove more than a dozen customers from its service for allegedly violating copyrights and stealing content, Axios is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of its plans. It would represent the first time AT&T banned customers from its service over piracy, according to the report.
In a statement to Fortune, AT&T said that it had received notice from copyright owners that some of its customers had in some way violated their copyrights. AT&T then identified which customers were allegedly pirating content and is now moving to remove them from its network.
“Content owners notified us when they believed they had evidence that an internet account was sharing copyrighted material unlawfully,” the spokesperson said. “Based on the notices we received, we identified the customer on the account and share with them the information we received. We also reached out to the customer to educate them about copyright infringement and offer assistance to help prevent the activity from continuing. A small number of customers who continue to receive additional copyright infringement notifications from content owners despite our efforts to educate them, will have their service discontinued.”
AT&T’s move comes as the company has taken over Time Warner and now operates a major entertainment and content business. It’s unclear from where the copyright infringement claims came, but the carrier now has a more prominent role in the content business.
Still, AT&T’s decision to remove the users is not necessarily a reflection on its Time Warner buy. The company has, for the last several years, had a policy of removing customers from its network over copyright violations. In order to remove those customers, however, AT&T’s policy says the company must notify customers nine times before it can boot them from its service.