U.K. pirates will get four warnings a year from 2015. This applies to all those who download music, movies, TV shows and other items illegally through torrent websites. The issue has become a major problem for the entertainment industry and the government is trying to find a way to encourage people to download legally.
The four warnings will highlight the fact that people are breaking the law. However, that is all that happens. Individuals will be able to ignore the letters and nothing will happen afterwards. This is a step backwards from the wishes of the government, which wanted to see pirates in the U.K. be disconnected from the internet.
The Digital Economy Act 2010 laid out plans that would see those who regularly download illegally cut off from their connection. However, it would affect everyone using that internet service provider (ISP) under that internet protocol (IP) address. That would mean everyone in the household would be affected, which could cause issues for innocent parties.
Some households would be students sharing a connection. It could just be one person using the internet illegally, but everyone would be affected. This causes problems for their studying and their own enjoyment when they have done nothing wrong.
The ISPs and industry bodies that represent the copyright holders have gotten together and believe that giving U.K. pirates four warnings a year will help to reduce the amount of people downloading illegally. There is the believe that the public just need to be educated, as many will not realize just how much damage they are doing to the industry economies.
The copyright holders wanted to see pirates being warned of the penalties of their actions. They also wanted repeat offenders to be held on a database that all ISPs would have access to. There are some severe limitations to this again, though, as the innocent people would be affected. If the guilty party is not the account holder, innocent people would be affected by this.
To help crack down on piracy, many of the U.K. ISPs have blocked access to the torrent sites. This has happened after court orders were issued forcing the companies to do this. However, internet users are finding ways around the block and continue to download the content illegally. More needs to be done to help protect the industry.
There are arguments that these letters, which will start from 2015, will not deter people. Those partaking in illegal file-sharing already know they are acting illegally and immorally. If the letters do not lead to harsher punishments then the guilty parties will not stop acting in the way they are. There is no risk in continuing.
It is a difficult industry to protect. People will always find another way to use technology to download something for free, and usually illegally. Governments will continue to try and help, but many of the ideas are not quite working out to be as positive as they would hope. From 2015, U.K. pirates will receive four warnings a year but those warnings are just to educate people rather than punish them.
Opinion by Alexandria Ingham