Internet piracy has been an issue that has been hotly debated and policed for several years – but despite the best efforts of service providers worldwide, it appears that pirates always seem to find their way around safeguards and measures put in place by those trying to protect paid content and other material from being distributed for free online. Piracy, it seems, is a hard thing to police – and while the days of bootleg DVDs, CDs and otherwise on the black market may be behind us, internet piracy has never been bigger. Whether they are using P2P services or otherwise, many people are getting away with downloading TV shows, films, music and more without having to part with a penny.
UK internet service providers, however, are keen to try and turn statistics around – in an effort to make sure that internet users are educated on the effects of privacy and ways to find legal content available to purchase, the UK government have agreed with providers that emails should be sent to those suspected of downloading programs and other media free of charge – when they should be paying for them. The government is responsible for a program known as ‘Get It Right From a Genuine Site’ which will work with ISPs to generate warning letters to suspected downloaders to provide them with alternative opportunities for downloading content legally.
Emails will start to be dispatched from next week onwards, which will see Virgin Media, Sky, TalkTalk and BT send warnings to customers which will give advice and tips on how to avoid downloading illegal content in future. Internet pirates were previously contacted from law firms stating that speculative fines may be brought into effect should downloading continue – however, as it cannot be safely proven who may be using a broadband service at any one time, such moves were heavily criticized.
Criticism has also been levelled at the government’s latest methodology, which monitors P2P networks and torrent uploads for signs of illegal activity. Some experts have come forward to state that this is only one way through which piracy occurs online – and that the Get It Right campaign may be falling behind the evolution of piracy by only just launching the email warnings this January. Whether the campaign will be effective enough to deter regular downloaders remains to be seen – or will it simply encourage users to find new ways to conceal themselves or to obtain illegal data elsewhere? One thing’s for sure – if you’ve been using P2P software to download paid content for free in recent weeks, you may well be getting an email from your ISP soon.