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Piracy Media Music The Internet

UK ISPs To Send Non-Threatening Letters To Pirates 93

Posted by Soulskill
from the a-kinder-gentler-copyright-industry dept.
New submitter echo-e writes: "A deal has been made between groups representing content creators and ISPs in the UK concerning how the ISPs should respond to suspected illegal file sharers. In short, the ISPs will send letters or emails with an 'educational' rather than threatening tone, alerting users to legal alternatives. The rights holders will be notified of the number of such alerts that have been sent out, but only the ISPs will know the identity of the offenders. Only four of the UKs ISPs have agreed to the 'Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme' so far, but the remaining ISPs are expected to join the programme at a later stage. The debate between rights holders and ISPs has raged on for years. This agreement falls short of the of the proposals put forward by the rights holders groups, but the ISPs have argued that it is not their responsibility to police users and that a legal process already exists for going after individuals."
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UK ISPs To Send Non-Threatening Letters To Pirates

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  • And then I said, " ...

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's driving me nuts!

    • Re:Arrrrrrrr (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Penguinisto (415985) on Friday May 09, 2014 @11:23AM (#46959633) Journal

      And then I said, " ...

      That's what most recipients will likely say - nothing.

      So what happens after that?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        According to TorrentFreak.

        ...rightsholders say that if Vcap doesn’t achieve results, they will call for the “rapid implementation” of the harsh measures promised by the Digital Economy Act.

        There's a 99.9% chance they're going to pull that shit on day one.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

        I used to get emails and letters from Virgin begging me to download less. They advertise an "unlimited" service so they can't force me to, they just begged. I asked them to stop sending them and they did.

        If that doesn't work you could ask for the letters to be printed on toilet paper so at least you could get some use out of them. Failing that just write "return to sender" on the envelope and shove it back in the box.

  • by advantis (622471) on Friday May 09, 2014 @11:19AM (#46959589)

    If piracy is actually a problem, this may be as effective as the TV detection vans they (used to?) have roaming around, supposedly able to detect if you're watching live TV without paying the TV licence (which makes you a criminal in the UK). Apparently the high tech of those vans is... a list of people who don't have a licence. Nobody knows if they have a remote listening device like in spy movies that they point at your window, and apparently they don't even bother sending the vans out these days - they just tell you they do, and it's just as effective.

    Using that logic, just the appearance of threats can get most people to comply with the law, or demands from the law that you don't have to comply with (like in "can I search your car please?"). Since an IP address doesn't identify a person, that's pretty much all they can do: send educational material, which makes people think "we are watching you", which makes them subscribe to Netflix and give up on 0-day TV shows (freshly ripped off the air).

    I'd like to see "piracy" and "loss" numbers a year after people start getting these letters. My belief is that the piracy numbers will go down, but the revenue of content creators will not follow suit.

    • by Brandano (1192819)
      I believe that in "the olden days" of analogue TV the vans could detect the frequency emitted by the local oscillator of the TV set, essentially the bit that compares a fixed frequency to what is received by the antenna and by making a difference between these obtains a signal. The principle of operation i of radio sets is still the same (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superheterodyne_receiver), but modern receivers probably are better engineered and won't leak as much of the local oscillator signal.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      My belief is that this won't affect a damn thing. People get sued for hundreds of thousands of dollars for a few copyright violations, and this hasn't stopped. It will never stop or even really be reduced all that much because of how easy it is.

      The only thing that I could see putting a dent in some of these numbers is for the copyright holders to make it easy to buy and download DRM-free content online. It has to be as easy or easier than the 'illegitimate' route for it to work, and fairly cheap. That's jus

    • by markxz (669696)

      They mainly use the strategy of sending many letters to address that they think are unlicenced.

      My flat has two different numbers (One based on floors, the other based on the order reached when climbing the stairs) and I received a licence sent to one address on the same day as a warning sent to the other.

      For many years (until I finally told them) I received warnings to the unlicensed version of my address every few months.

  • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Friday May 09, 2014 @11:31AM (#46959711)

    Legal alternatives usually don't even exist, or are completely overpriced, or months late in other countries.

    Stop trying to educate, threaten or sue people. Clean up your copyright deals so that you do synchronous worldwide launches of your content. We're in the age of the Internet downloads and streaming. Try to keep up.

    • Try to keep up.

      Exactly. To beat TBP, the service has to be better, or at least as good. This means:
      * Timely
      * Easily searched
      * Good range of different qualities
      * Good download speed.
      * Even vaguely decent software for actually downloading the stuff.
      * No mandatory streaming and/or bullshit DRM.
      * A la carte purchase of individual shows and episodes.
      * Sane codecs, i.e. a nice MP4 which plays anywhere.

      The thing is, not a single one of the above is about price. Those are all the features that TPB offers which cu

      • Indeed. Pirates have noticed this too. Once legal services become cheap, reliable and convenient in any region the number of pirates in the community drops sharply. It's a serious problem - piracy is a community, and it falls apart when half the members lose interest because they can get what they want quicker on Netflix.

      • The thing is, not a single one of the above is about price.

        And yet, that is eventually what it comes down to, is it not? Everybody is apparently willing to pay if only A, B, C ... X, Y, Z. But rarely is there an amount attached.

        Netflix launched in The Netherlands to much furore. We're a bit on now, and guess what? Most of the subscribers are still downloading, some even started downloading more; they found a series they liked, then realized that Netflix only has seasons 1 through 3, even though season 4

        • And yet, that is eventually what it comes down to, is it not?

          No.

          Everybody is apparently willing to pay if only A, B, C ... X, Y, Z.

          Yeah but A-Z very rarely exist.

          But rarely is there an amount attached.

          Sure there is. People still buy DVDs. To series I've come to late (i.e. where timeliness isn't an issue), I've bought the DVDs instead. The DRM is so light as to be non existent.

          Netflix launched in The Netherlands to much furore. We're a bit on now, and guess what? Most of the subscribers are still downloading

    • by PPH (736903)

      Here's the thing. As others have pointed out, IP owners don't have to share their property with anyone. They can lock music, videos, art, books, whatever in a vault and deny you access. Don't like it? Tough, that's what private property is all about.

      On the other hand, at least in the USA, the copyright clause begins with the preamble "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts." So, if you want to keep it to yourself, or your circle of good freinds, fine. You just shouldn't rely on copyright law to

  • the ISPs have argued that it is not their responsibility to police users

    Hey, would y'all mind exporting that attitude to us here in the US?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 09, 2014 @11:36AM (#46959763)

    What happens if, say, the user is downloading shows for which there is no legal source? Let me give you an example:

    There's a Japanese TV show, highly popular on various anime trackers, called Game Center CX. It's a live-action show that's been running for something like 18 seasons now where a comedian named Shinya Arino plays through hard and/or bad NES/SNES era games.. and it's also had a bit of an odd cycle of rights in the United States.

    Initially, Kotaku (horrible as it is) licensed some 13 or so episodes from the show's rightsholder, Fuji TV. They overdubbed them.. poorly.. and released them online. Kotaku only had the rights to those specific episodes, and only for I believe two years. The show proved unpopular on Kotaku, because at that point Something Awful already had a fansub group together who were doing a much better job translating and didn't have an annoying English-language overdub. SA-GCCX released their work on Youtube, where it stayed for years without a problem. I should also mention that they only translated the episodes Kotaku did not have the rights to - episodes that could not be legally seen outside of Japan because they were only broadcast on Fuji TV and no one bought the rights to them here.

    About a year ago, Fuji TV sent a mass of DMCA notices on every episode of Game Center CX that had been uploaded to Youtube, even though the show was not licensed (and still is not, with one exception that I'll mention) in the United States. Every single episode got taken down, and there was a massive scramble to get them all back.

    There is ONE exception to the licensing - SA-GCCX actually got a commercial DVD released just before Fuji TV started sending out takedown notices, of their own subtitled versions of the episodes Kotaku had butchered. However, they only had the rights to the episodes Kotaku had previously licensed, and they were not the ones who sent out takedown notices on the Youtube videos. Fuji TV also sells DVD box sets of the show, but those are not subtitled, almost impossible to import, and cost a metric fuck-ton of money (I tried to buy one once, it would've cost me something like $300 for a set of DVDs I can't understand).

    So now, outside of spending a ridiculous amount of money to buy a satellite package that contains Fuji TV (which I'm not sure even exists) and learning to understand spoken Japanese (tried it, lapsed when I got a job) or moving to the Tokyo metropolitan area and paying for a cable subscription, there is no legal way for me to watch Game Center CX should Fuji TV decide to go after torrents of the show. They haven't, so far, and I don't live in the UK, but I can just imagine AT&T sending me a "non-threatening" letter:

    "Dear Customer,

    You have been caught downloading Game Center CX, a television show owned by Fuji TV, Inc. This is wrong and you should consider a legal purchase instead at the following locations:

    (NULL)"

    • Of course a legal alternative exists. It's called learning Japanese, entering Japan as a tourist, and watching the video. It's impractical, but nothing in the law has to be practical.
    • Indeed !

      Still waiting to find season 1 of "Absolute Boy" (Zettai Shonen) with English subtitles without paying a small fortune.

      Amazon has one copy of Season 1 @ $65 (with Subtitles in French and Dutch, gee NO thanks -- want ENGLISH), but for how long?

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by mythosaz (572040)

      I'll be modded into oblivion, but...

      Why are you entitled to watch this, and have you considered the alternative of NOT watching it?

      • by Cederic (9623)

        You could as easily ask why anybody is entitled to prevent him watching it.

        • by mythosaz (572040)

          You could, if you wanted to present a strawman rather than answer the question.

          Like it or not, challenging or not in a digital age, but (largely speaking) content producers (and the people for whom they produce that content) own their content, and get to decide who gets to sees it.

          • by Cederic (9623)

            Sorry but you ask why someone feels entitled, as though there's any reason at all why they shouldn't.

            Content producers do not 'own' that content. They have an artificially created legal claim to it, but that doesn't mean they own it, or that they have any entitlement to prevent anybody else from accessing it.

            So don't give someone shit for wanting to experience elements of human culture. It belongs to everybody.

            • by mythosaz (572040)

              So don't give someone shit for wanting to experience elements of human culture. It belongs to everybody.

              Except that it doesn't.

              You're not entitled to use any of the software I wrote. It does not belong to everyone.
              You're not entitled to see any drawing I've sketched. It does not belong to everyone.
              You're not entitled to hear any of the music I've played. It does not belong to everyone.

  • >> the ISPs have argued that it is not their responsibility to police users

    And this is one of the reasons established user policers, particularly cable and dish companies, continue to push out traditional ISPs (and are being encouraged by content providers to continue to do so). Similarly, it's no coincidence that the same parties line up where they do on net neutrality: once you're OK with metering certain types of provider content, all you need to do is meter the hell out of any non-whitelisted pr

  • So, how many movie pirates have opened up a flick, seen the "WARNING!" label and words saying that this product is NOT for unauthorized viewing, and immediately closed / deleted the movie? I'm guessing..... Zero.
  • Actually (Score:4, Interesting)

    by nightfire-unique (253895) on Friday May 09, 2014 @01:01PM (#46960593)

    Can they please send me one?

    I am desperate to find someone to give money to, in exchange for unencumbered 1080p video (movies/tv).

    I've stopped watching movies, but I know many in my position steal movies not for the price (we're engineers; cost is not an issue), but for the quality and user experience. Honestly, I couldn't care whether movies are $10, $20, or even $30. I care that I can wire someone money, click a button, and start a 10-20gb download of unencumbered, professionally encoded, high definition video.

    In the meantime, I spend all of my media dollars on music, since there are multiple sources from which I can actually buy it.

    Won't someone in the video world please take my money?

    • It seems to me like downloading movies would be easier than stealing copies of them. I would think engineers would be smart enough to realize that, and act accordingly.

      • Oh, definitely. Stealing copies is a friggin' pain, which is why I've acted accordingly, and been putting the call out!

        *waves money around*

        Please, someone! Take my money and provide me direct, legal access to unencumbered, copyrighted video material!

        • Wait; maybe I misunderstood. Sorry, I'm using the industry-approved(tm) term "stealing" for copyright violation. Tongue-in-cheek.

          I want those making the decisions to understand that I accept the term "stealing" and may consider copyright violation morally ambiguous or even negative. However, I judge the encryption of works restricted by copyright to be so much greater a moral failing that using the even theft is the lesser crime.

  • Like the $2.99 per episode a la carte offering for Game of Thrones HBO has on their website? Sweet! Thanks for letting me know, I didn't know such a legal alternative existed! ...oh, wait...

  • Let's play a game: You show me a law without a threat, and I'll show you anarchy... and you can name your subject.

  • The best Legal Alternative to piracy is of course legalizing p2p-filesharing. Which the EFA/Greens faction in the European Parliament supports. And with the EP elections being this month... there you go, be a good lad, and get off that fat arse and DO something for a change.
  • The summary seems to suggest that there isn't much take up of this, with the comment, "Only four of the UKs ISPs have agreed to the 'Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme' so far". I think its worth pointing out that those 4 ISPs cover nearly 94% of the market... http://www.thinkbroadband.com/... [thinkbroadband.com]

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