A new educational campaign was recently launched in the UK to reduce online piracy, under the name "Get it Right" (see official website here).
This is a voluntary arrangement between the government, copyright owners and ISPs (and is part of the larger Creative Content UK (CCUK) initiative first announced several years ago, which we have previously blogged on here) which will see various major UK ISPs (e.g. Virgin Media, TalkTalk. BT, Sky) send out 'educational emails' to alleged copyright infringers, informing them that their accounts have been used to share infringing content and pointing them to the "Get it Right" website for legal alternatives and further information. The "Get it Right" website indicates that alleged infringers will be granted a 20-day grace period after each warning, and it does not appear that there is any limit to the number of warning letters that are sent out. There are, however, no punishments for subscribers who do not cooperate.
This "alerts" system will only apply to peer-to-peer file sharing and will therefore be aimed mostly at BitTorrent sites like TPB and including apps like Popcorn Time (see here for previous blog on Popcorn Time). Third party company, MarkMonitor, will monitor and track the file- sharing activities of subscribers and ISPs have agreed to a 2.5 million cap on the number of emails they send out per year. The campaign will run for a minimum of 3 years.
With no penalty system in place and no official appeal process to refute an infringement claim, some query how effective this campaign will be in practice. Coincidentally, the UK campaign launches at the same time as the US equivalent 'six strikes' anti-piracy scheme ("Copyright Alert System") has come to a halt after its five year stint. Despite its closure, copyright owners claimed it was a success but others have criticised the system claiming there is no concrete evidence showing that the campaign has succeeded in reducing online piracy. A rather more concerning aspect is that, as with the UK campaign, the warning letters only cover BitTorrent networks and not streaming and direct downloading, a method which is becoming increasingly popular with pirates. Therefore, many of the infringing activities that occur online won't be caught by such letters.