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Get it Right – Copyright Holders Scrap UK ISP Piracy Letters Scheme

Friday, July 19th, 2019 (1:15 pm) - Score 2,205
piracy internet UK STOP sign

The Voluntary Copyright Alert Program (VCAP), which has so far seen broadband ISPs in the UK send around 1 million “educational” internet piracy warning emails (“subscriber alerts“) to consumers they suspect of taking part in copyright infringement, has been ceased because it “served [its] purpose.”

The alerts system involved all of the biggest ISPs (BT, TalkTalk, Sky Broadband and Virgin Media etc.) and formed part of the government fostered Creative Content UK initiative (Get It Right from a Genuine Site), which among other things expected to “send millions of educational notices” to those detected by copyright owners as infringing their content via Peer-to-Peer (P2P) File-Sharing (e.g. BitTorrent) networks.

However, unlike the bullying letters sent by dubious copyright protection firms in prior years (“speculative invoicing“), the new alerts were designed to be more educational (i.e. pointing end-users to legal alternatives) and didn’t contain any threats of punishment or demands for money.

Earlier this year the UK music industry – via the BPI – broke with years of silence on the subject by revealing to a conference in France that it had so far sent around 1 million piracy alerts (roughly 500,000 per year) and less than 1% of the recipients had called for further information (here). Overall the campaign (covers more than just alerts) was said to have led to a 26% reduction in piracy.

We had been expecting this to continue after the Government committed an additional £2m of public money to keep the “Get it Right” campaign going until 2021 (here) – on top of the £3.5m that it initially began with – but a report on TorrentFreak has confirmed that the warning notices will no longer form part of this.

A Spokesperson for CCUK said:

“Having encouraged increased awareness of the value of genuine content and of its many legally available sources, in turn resulting in reduced infringing behavior, the Get it Right campaign is now moving to its next phase.

The educational emails sent by ISPs upon detection of infringing file-sharing activity have served their purpose and are ceasing, with the focus instead increasing the broader engagement with fans based around their passion for music, TV, film and all other kinds of creative content.”

We can speculate that part of the reason for this may be the huge rise in legal alternatives (Netflix, Amazon Prime, NOW TV etc.), although equally consumers have become harder to track (greater use of VPN, Proxy Servers etc.) and court ordered website blocks by ISPs may have also had an impact. Going forward the UK Government has also hinted that it may make website blocking easier (i.e. turn it into more of an administrative than court managed process).

On top of that there are now other methods for accessing copyright content that pirates may be harnessing, although P2P file sharing services have not gone away and remain fairly popular. We await to see what the next phase of the “Get it Right” campaign will bring.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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12 Responses
  1. Avatar Herve Shango

    Lmao we’ve (most) started to go underground to get these contents now such as VPN.

  2. Avatar Archie

    Don’t blame people…

    These companies need to stop fighting and create the ultimate platform and the law needs to catch up, also. The industry is killing itself by not making their content available.

    • Avatar Mike

      The problem is greed, they all want to have their own platform or charge so much operators of others can’t stream them, most people don’t want to subscribe to many services to get everything, and then there are all the geo-restrictions and devices restrictions etc. but P2P provides everything by default, open and for free.

    • Avatar Archie

      Absolutely. If there was a “mega Netflix” in which they harboured virtually all of the films, TV series, music I’d be prepared to pay quite a bit every month to have it, as I’m sure many would.

    • Avatar New_Londoner

      @Mike
      “The problem is greed”. … “P2P provides everything by default, open and for free”.

      You missed the bit about taking it and not paying for it, which is surely another form of greed too, but yours as a consumer.

  3. Avatar Simon

    Well the BBC and ITV just said they are launching a streaming service to rival Netflix – Brtibox or something – I hope this means I can ditch the TV licence and then after a month of this shizzle ditch the BBC altogether!

    • Avatar Onephat

      Seems unlikely but you never know.

    • Avatar Timeless

      youll need a licence still as lm sure their service will include live TV, will likely be something along the lines of NowTV, ld assume it will have a catch up/box set type section and a live one.. if through some twist of fate it doesnt broadcast shows live then its possible a licence wont be required (kinda why l stick with Netflix).

    • Avatar Optimist

      Licence for internet TV needed only when simultaneous with broadcast programmes and BBC catchup. I don’t mind waiting days or weeks for some programmes, so if some business offers many channels without need for a TV licence I’ll happily subscribe.

      Stuff the BBC.

  4. Avatar Aaron

    Did they serve a purpose though? I guarantee most of them continued doing it. Probably done a bit of googling to see how to protect their privacy. I’ve done it in the past. I’ll admit to that. There are some shows that air in the US that cannot air here due to rights and all that. That leads to one resort. Piracy.

  5. Avatar Badem

    How about this for a slightly different slant on ‘Piracy’
    I know deaf people who pirate movies and TV shows as they are physically unable to understand the movies in the cinema. Due to the cinemas not showing subtitled shows their own options are
    1) to wait weeks/months for the movie to be released, but in meantime get hit with spoilers for said movie from all over the place
    2) Stream the movie with subtitles via the many sources.

    Same goes for TV shows, some ISPs show the shows with subtitles but other ISP show it without, results in a viewing challenge so choice is either
    1) Pay more money just to get same show from another source with subtitles
    2) Stream the show with subtitles via the many sources.

    Then the other slant is the Geo Locking that goes on, some brilliant shows are released, cannot get them in the UK ( really not clear exactly which network is showing them, when it shows them etc) and again forums etc rave about the show, so only option is wait for someone to pick it up in a few years and endure the spoilers or stream online.

    More reasons why people stream than just ‘Greed’ and if you look at what Amazon has just done that really is a greed issue. Taking shows that were originally available on PRIME and locked them behind another paywall known as ‘Starplayz’ thereby forcing people to pay more. Same is happening with Marvel and Disney, soon all those shows will be locked behind a pay wall for yet another platform and viewing shows is going to get REALLY expensive.

  6. Avatar Jerry

    Not to mention that some people don’t have internet capable of streaming so their only option is to download. Just saying.

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