The British government has finally decriminalized online video game, music and movie piracy, in an effort to educate people rather than punish them.
According to the decision, starting in 2015, file sharers that keep downloading content from the Internet will be sent up to four letters of warning, explaining that their actions are, in fact, illegal. However, if the notes go ignored, nothing will happen.
The Creative Content UK is a result of a collaboration between British Internet providers, politicians and the movie and music industries. While the big providers such as BT, Virgin, Sky, and TalkTalk have already signed the agreement, but all the rest are expected to join in too.
The government pledged £3.5 million ($5.98 million/ €4.43 million) for the funding of the education awareness part of the campaign.
Basically, Creative Content UK is comprised of two components. One of them is the alert system and the letters sent to subscribers, as listed above, while the second is an awareness campaign led by content creators. The entire purpose of it all is to fight online copyright infringement through education.
The reasoning is that encouraging consumers and informing them about the copyright issues will help shape the future generation of Internet users.
“The Creative Sector is a key driver of the UK economy contributing £8m to the UK economy every hour and underpinning over 1.5m jobs. Copyright is the foundation on which the Creative industries stand and we must ensure it remains strong and continues to support the growth of the sector. The alert programme shows industry working together to develop solutions which support the long-term health of the UK's creative industries. It will play a central role in raising awareness of copyright and pointing people toward legal ways to access content and I welcome this effort,” said Saji Javid, Culture Secretary.
The Creative Content UK was founded by the Motion Picture Association, the British Recorded Music Industry, as well as BT, Sky Broadband, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, the latter being Internet providers. There’s also some backing from organizations across the creative community, including the BBC, Equity, Pact the Premier League, UK Music and more.
“This is just one piece of the overall approach to tackling illegal online infringement and promoting the importance of copyright. This will enable consumers to receive the best possible user experience and sustains the UK’s creative community and economy, incentivising the creation of new movies and other creative content,” said Chris Marcich, president and managing director EMEA of the Motion Picture Association.
It should be noted, however, that there are plenty of studios that aren't part of the deal and who will not shy away from suing copyright infringers.