UK set to launch new anti-piracy campaign

For what seems like forever, Internet service providers have been attempting to fight consumers that pirate content. Last year, ISPs in the UK were ordered to block 21 sites that were regularly used to pirate content, including many database websites that are used for torrents. Most recently, the co-founder of The Pirate Bay, Pete Sunde, had been arrested in Sweden, after nearly two years of being on the run. Now, "People in the UK who persistently pirate music and movies will soon start getting emails warning them that their actions are illegal," according to BBC.

The new system, named the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme, was created by the government after many years of talks. The chief executive of BPI, Geoff Taylor, said that it was a "long road" to come to the VCAP conclusion, and even though it lacks retribution, he believes that it will be able to change peoples habits. VCAP will be used by some of the UK's biggest providers, such as BT, TalkTalk, Virgin and Sky. Smaller ISPs are also expected to be added later on.

The warnings are just the beginning of a new campaign meant to educate consumers about copyrights and ways to enjoy content legally. Up to four warnings will be sent to households that are thought to be pirating content, but if they are ignored, no action will be taken. These warnings are going to start being sent out sometime next year. The BBC mentions that the new "warning system is the result of four years' wrangling between internet service providers (ISPs) and industry bodies representing music and movie-makers." Rights holders also wanted to include the potential penalties for consuming content which was downloaded illegally, as well as for accessing databases that are used for pirating, such as The Pirate Bay. This new campaign is much less harsh when compared to the 2010 Digital Economy Act, which wanted to have Internet access for "persistent pirates" cut off after a set amount of warnings.

The government has also pledged £3.5m to educate users on the various ways of enjoying legally acquired digital content. According to Business Secretary Vince Cable, this new project is meant to back the UK's creative industries. He claims that "It's a difficult industry to pin down and it's also difficult to protect," and adds that "unless you protect it then it's an industry that cannot function." Additionally, the UK government estimates that their creative industry contributes about £71bn to the economy, and accounts for around 1.68m jobs. Geoff Taylor states that "Vcap is not about denying access to the internet. It's about changing attitudes and raising awareness so people can make the right choice."

Source: BBC | Image via Shutterstock

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I love purchasing a physical CD. Having the album artwork and a physical disc but in this day and age of 'disposable music', how many times have you heard a brilliant single from a band or artist, purchased the album and thought, well this is crap.

The music publishers put this on themselves with crap like BGT and Pop idol or whatever rubbish title they brand it with now.

According to Business Secretary Vince Cable, this new project is meant to back the UK's creative industries

Ha. It has nothing to do with UK industries, and everything to do with international fat cat corporations like Universal, Vivendi, Warner, Sony, and other American companies represented by the MAFIAA (MPAA/RIAA).

I wonder if the BPI (RIAA in all but name) wrote this agreement like they did with the DEA. Wouldn't surprise me. Regardless, I couldn't give a fig.

Just as long as that £3.5 Mill "education" campaign doesn't equate to "More copyright ads on DVD's and Blu-rays".

Here's a great idea that consumers will love, force people who still use CD's to listen to a 2-3 minute long copyright message in between every single track. I'm going to submit my idea to the Government.

They email you, whom ever they are, so, where did they get your email from?

Then you get 4 warnings, after than they do nothing.

What a waste money.

Want to drastically stop piracy? It's actually quite simple. Simplify and make it cheaper for content providers like NetFlix to get content contracts rather than situations where NetFlix US and NetFlix UK have large content differences.

Content holders would make more money if the content was cheaper to be used by the likes of NetFlix which would mean more content, cheaper prices/prices not being raised, means more profit for everyone since people wouldn't need 2 or 3 services to cover a large amount of content i.e. how Hulu, NetFlix, Amazon Prime etc all have exclusive contracts for content which hurt each other.

The other thing is getting new content available to users faster and when I mean faster, I mean if we get a film release on DVD/Blu-ray then it should be available to all parties at the same time. This isn't much of an issue for music since from what I can see, most music content is released everywhere at the same time.

It's also like series like Game of Thrones, it may sound stupid but it would be good for companies like Sky to broadcast at the same time as the US version, and while I know there is a time difference which would it being shown at like 4/5am in the morning, it can be recorded or even watched by hardcore people rather than me being able to download and watch the show before Sky even broadcasts it which means they have technically lost a 'viewer' in their ratings.

The Film and TV industry needs a Unified, same day/hour release system to maximise the availability of content to those who want to get the said content.

Same goes for Cinemas, I wouldn't say release it on the same hour, but the same day would be key, not this 'lets release the film 4 weeks apart' ###### that goes on nearly all the time, just encouraging people who are too eager to wait to download some ###### Cam.

The reason Netflix UK has much less content then Netflix US is simple... Sky. They bid incredibly large amounts of money for exclusive access to content. Of course a content maker is going to sell to the highest bidder. It sucks really... exclusivity to one content distributor should be banned as it's anti-competitive.

So the content creators should stop blaming pirates and look at themselves as to why there is so much of their content pirated in the first place.

I would like to see what legally approved & technically valid methods they will be exercising to accurately detect that an act of piracy has been committed.

Aergan said,
I would like to see what legally approved & technically valid methods they will be exercising to accurately detect that an act of piracy has been committed.

Easy. Just falsely target torrent users.

Although there is no penalty it's still a problem. I think it was in the US where this was first active a court ordered an ISP to hand over the strike notice data in a copyright case to make prosecution.

This is old news though been like what 2 months or more now we known about this? Torrentfreak has been posting about it for ages now.

This is the first step towards ISP's being forced to take action. Give it a few more years and those greedy overcharging content creators will start pushing for like 5 strikes then a cut off.

They need to step up start releasing content to the web legally in good quality. Even stuff from BBC goes online before its live in Iplayer these days its a joke.

Remember seeing an article about games of thrones. In some places you just can't watch it for months after its first release and by that time everyone who has downloaded it told you what happend >.<. Not only this but in places legally able to watch it the cost is insane averages like £20 a month for 1 episode or something. Like if you get subscription TV just to watch it.

Just look at this: http://www.theguardian.com/med...ustralia-defended-by-foxtel

https://torrentfreak.com/why-p...obal-cost-breakdown-140413/

No wonder people friggin pirate! Like i said release stuff at an affordable price worldwide at the same time. Stop being so greedy and you might actually get less pirates.

Ever used Popcorn time? That thing is years ahead of anything the industry had made, they should take note and make there own. Put a few adverts on it or something and be happy they made some money. Just being greedy they are.

Edited by Vester, Jul 19 2014, 7:51am :

Unfortunately there is still a large group of people who think the internet is a free ride.. I know people who refuse to buy music, movies or software and refuse to visit the cinema because they know they can get it online for free. We could argue that some of these people wouldn't buy it anyway so publishers aren't really losing out but that does not give people the right to obtain it for free.

I'll admit i pirate something every day, though it's mainly content i don't have access to like TV shows.. It's time content was available globally, get rid of the all the crappy licensing restrictions and give people content when they want it.

The industry needs to wake up and adapt to the way people consume media, the music industry in particular is a joke, i'm sick of seeing new song releases being played on the radio and then added to iTunes for pre-order with a 3 month waiting for release, of course people are going to illegally download the leaks early releases because they want it now, not in 3 months when they'll be sick of hearing it.

You want to reduce piracy to insignificant levels? Let the music and entertainment industry pull there heads out of their collective exit tunnels and allow Spotify/Xbox music,/Pandora/Vevo/Netflix etc. to show the same content globally. People are willing and have the means to pay for these services. But the management of labels and studios are too busy bickering about region pricing and useless nonsense and can't see the very solution to their alleged problem is staring them dead in the face.
I know this is an article about the UK, but this is one of the major gripes international customers have to deal with.

Exactly this. I subscribe to the likes of Netflix/Spotify etc. But it really frustrates me that the American Netflix has so much more content on than the English one, so I cancelled the English one and used a Proxy for a while to watch the U.S. Netflix. Why should I have to do that? If they actually all got round the table, and created a proper deal for the consumers, less people would download. I'm in the 20-30 bracket, which I would suggest would be fairly high in the bracket of people that download, none of my friends do. We all used to, but as services for the consumer have improved we've moved onto them, and have stopped the illegal downloading, however Netflix/movie/tv show subscriptions are terrible here in the UK.

Hear hear!!

In this digital age, as has been shown by the same pirates they try to wipe out, global content is a non-discussion.

The whole industry need to get their a** into the 21th century, and start to offer 'Everything Everywhere ™ ® ©'.
As most of us don't care if it's Hulu, NetFlix, Amazon or whatever, just release the stuff at a fair price to watch/listen to.

It's rediculous to jump to certain hoops to watch content from a different region, because that last season isn't available locally. Even long after DVD/BR has come out in the stores.....

I'm watching NetFlix ever since it came out over here, and love it. But a more 1:1 ratio with the US would be very nice indeed.

Absolutely agree.

If Piracy is going to be condemned for being illegal distribution of popular music, movies & TV shows, it should also get points for it's archiving, which can be on a pretty mind blowing scale. Something that the entertainment industry is going to take years to catchup on, if ever.

I mean, if I was in the UK, am I going to get a letter for downloading obscure 1960s soviet cinema?

Almost certainly not.

What if I was to download the latest western pop album that's already made millions?

Well that's a big no, no!

and you would be stopped and arrested for having a stolen car, as having stolen physical objects are easier to trace and see. It always amazes me how many people didn't understand the analogy of the 'you wouldn't download a car' quote.

But it wouldn't be stolen would it? It would just be a copy unless downloading it somehow destroyed the original. No one would report it stolen since they still have their car.

You've stolen their design which with all the research & development, advertising, staff wages, etc. cost someone or some company a lot of money to do, That's why we have a Copyright law....

Kravex said,
and you would be stopped and arrested for having a stolen car, as having stolen physical objects are easier to trace and see. It always amazes me how many people didn't understand the analogy of the 'you wouldn't download a car' quote.

Such detections would be the same as currently though.

You can't tell that an audio file was downloaded illegally just by looking at the file itself, you have to see the actual download.

It would be the same with a downloaded car, you wouldn't be able to tell it was downloaded illegally by looking at the car itself, you would have to see the actual download. This is obviously assuming it was a good copy, and not a plasticky looking one like most of the things that are 3D printed at the minute.

All hypothetical of course as I don't think anyone has 3D printed a car yet!

Kravex said,
You've stolen their design which with all the research & development, advertising, staff wages, etc. cost someone or some company a lot of money to do, That's why we have a Copyright law....

I wouldn't have stolen their design, I'd have copied it. That is what copyright law is about; copying not stealing.

Hardcore Til I Die said,

All hypothetical of course as I don't think anyone has 3D printed a car yet!

I hear Caterham's F1 car is completely created by 3D printer and held together by duct tape.

coth said,
Robbing people with giant prices is much worse.

That's . . . debatable. Even if it were true, it would hardly be an excuse.

Brony said,
piracy = steal.

And "steal of ideas and concept" is called education and culture.


Stealing is bad. What incentive is there to create a work for profit if one doesn't receive any form of payment? One could argue that works should be free, but that's just foolish . . .

So if there is no penalty what is the point? Seems like it's a waste of time for everyone involved including the people that took 4 years (lol..) to come up with the idea.

I always go with the assumption that most people who pirate know that it's not legit so telling them they've been naughty won't change much.

Here's a crazy idea why don't the "industry bodies representing music and movie-makers" evolve with the times instead of acting like it's still 1990?

trag3dy said,
So if there is no penalty what is the point? Seems like it's a waste of time for everyone involved including the people that took 4 years (lol..) to come up with the idea.

I always go with the assumption that most people who pirate know that it's not legit so telling them they've been naughty won't change much.

Here's a crazy idea why don't the "industry bodies representing music and movie-makers" evolve with the times instead of acting like it's still 1990?


I don't know why this is on neowin now, this news is about 3 months old.
And it's voluntary now with no effect, they,we said if it doesn't cut piracy by some huge number (and you know it won't because this is all baloney ######) then they'll bring into law the power for large fines and disconnections, without them having to provide proof and without you being able to do anything about it.
Welcome to the united krapdom

That's the whole point. I imagine the letters will have a threatening tone, talking about massive fines, court costs, and imprisonment.

And it's news because it's coming into effect ;)

n_K said,

I don't know why this is on neowin now, this news is about 3 months old.
And it's voluntary now with no effect, they,we said if it doesn't cut piracy by some huge number (and you know it won't because this is all baloney ######) then they'll bring into law the power for large fines and disconnections, without them having to provide proof and without you being able to do anything about it.
Welcome to the united krapdom
I also like 'Her Majesty's Surveillance State' But it's as Eben Moglen said in one of his talks... typically Asia and Africa expelled freedom, Europe was told to look at freedom as a strangers and England put freedom in detention as it comes through heathrow airport. If you interested in watching the very motivating speech its the first one here http://snowdenandthefuture.info/