The UK is about to launch a new anti-piracy campaign in 2015 that aims to educate pirates rather than punish them. The UK government will pledge £3.5 million to help make the public aware of legal ways to download movies and music. The Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme will also see those who persistently use illegal downloads be sent letters from their ISP warning them that their actions are illegal and are harming creative industries. Those who are believed to be infringing copyright will be sent up to four of these letters a year, though no further action will be taken against pirates if they ignore the warnings.
Speaking to the BBC, chief executive of the BPI Geoff Taylor explained that the new campaign was a way to persuade internet users to get their content legally. “It’s about persuading the persuadable, such as parents who do not know what is going on with their net connection,” he said. “Vcap is not about denying access to the internet. It’s about changing attitudes and raising awareness so people can make the right choice.”
Originally, the UK government and rights holders were looking to enforce much tougher measures than has now been agreed. Persistent illegal downloaders would have faced having their internet access cut off after multiple warnings. That has now been dropped in favor of the educational approach.
The campaign is the result of an agreement between the UK government, internet service providers and industry bodies representing rights holders in the music and movie industries. ISP argued against the tougher measures, instead favoring actions that wouldn’t force them to cut off internet access to their customers.
While the above campaign is focused on movie and music, it will also affect the gaming industry. Some parts of the industry are already taking proactive steps to stop piracy by making purchasing games more convenient and owning content more rewarding. Steam is a good example of this, offering seasonal sales and an easy way to buy titles.