In an effort to fight digital piracy, the movie and music industries have announced a deal with the UK’s leading ISPs to send warning emails to alleged copyright infringers.
Called the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme, the campaign will focus on alerting people to the fact that their activities infringe copyright.
Starting next year, up to four warnings will be sent to households that are suspected of copyright infringement. But if those households continue to engage in illegal downloads, nothing else will be done.
So essentially, it’s just a light slap on the wrist.
This seems quite a backtrack from the original plans announced as part of the government’s Digital Economy Act of 2010, which called for persistent pirates to have their net access cut off after a series of warnings.
Media companies also wanted to send notices that outlined the possibility of prosecution for copyright violations. But both of these harsher reactions have been rejected by UK ISPs.
The UK government has pledged £3.5 million in support of the campaign, and so far BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media have agreed to send warnings to customers whose connections are being used for unauthorised file-sharing.
Founding partners on the scheme also include the Motion Picture Association and the British Recorded Music Industry. It also has the backing of the BBC the Film Distributors’ Association, the Independent Film & Television Alliance, the Musicians’ Union, the Premier League and the Publishers’ Association.
According to regulator Ofcom, almost a quarter of downloads in the UK infringe copyright, with films being the most-pirated content.