ISPs Now Want to “Educate” You to Stop Downloading Illegally
Most of the big broadband providers are going to start sending out “educational” letters to there customers who are downloading films, music, software and television programs illegally.
Sky, BT, TalkTalk and Virgin Media have teamed up with copyright holders like the Phonographic Industry, to form the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme (VCAP). Regulators will send up to four letters to households where they have been shown downloading illegally. With each successive letter the household receives will be written in increasingly severe language, the letters will warn the household the effects that digital piracy is having and how it is damaging the companies making the products.
The aim of the letters is to make people think about their illegal actions and the effects it is having, but there will be no criminal punishment for repeat offenders who just ignore the letters. The VCAP scheme is a softer approach to the Digital Economy Act, which was passed in 2010. The act proposed that people downloading illegal should have their Internet connection slowed down or even terminated.
ISP should also block all sites associated with piracy. At this time, it only been partially implemented, due to strong opposition from the ISPs.
ISPs can track illegal downloading by monitoring traffic on file-sharing sites; they then match copyright-infringement reports with their customers IP address. ISPs can’t reveal the identity of someone that is caught downloading because an IP address can only be tracked to a household and not an individual. The VCAP scheme is 75% funded by the entertainment industry and copyright holders, and the rest coming from the four major ISPs. More are expected to join the scheme soon. ISPs have a total of 2.5 million letters to send out.
BT, Virgin and Sky have all outlined their support for the scheme. A BT spokesman said the company is “committed to supporting the UK’s creative industries by helping to tackle the problem of online piracy while ensuring the best possible experience for its customers”.