The UK starts new anti-piracy campaign, education instead of punishment

Internet service providers and governments have been looking for ways of dealing with piracy for the longest time. Most of the measures tested revolve around punishing people who download files illegally or just outright blocking access to torrent websites altogether. While mildly successful, these measures arn’t really a solution and most pirates know ways of bypassing them and keep downloading anyway. Given the circumstances, the UK is trying a very different approach that aims to educate those who practice piracy, instead of punishing them. Virgin Media in collaboration with BPI, Motion Picture Association, BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Government are launching the Creative Content UK campaign.

This initiative will reportedly try to raise awareness of the importance of online copyright protection while also helping customers find music, TV shows, and movies online without resorting to piracy. They believe that people will no longer download content illegally if they can get what they want at a reasonable price. However, if a person does decide to download files using torrents, their ISP will send them a letter informing them that they’re infringing on copyright laws. The pirates are then pointed towards legitimate sources of content and are advised to download from there. Ignoring the letters will apparently only have consequences if they do it several times.

“As part of this commitment, we will alert our customers if unlawful file-sharing appears to have taken place on their broadband connection,” Virgin Media explains. “Any alert will clearly recognise the account holder may not have engaged in copyright infringement themselves and we will be informative in tone, offering advice on where to find legitimate sources of entertainment content.”We believe people will ultimately pay if they can get what they want, how they want, at a price that’s fair to them. We have partnered with Spotify, encouraging customers to use the country’s largest streaming music service, we have brought Netflix onto its first pay-TV platform and we offer an unbeatable choice of On Demand movies and TV shows. By embracing digital, the creative industries can realise significant benefits, reaching millions of people with new and innovative services.”

They also add that no customer information will be shared as part of the campaign. While this initiative is unlikely to completely stop piracy, it may end up reducing it somewhat. If successful, we might see other countries starting similar campaigns as well at some point in the future. Stay tuned for more news and updates.