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UK ISPs issue copyright warning letters

UK Internet users who download TV and films illegally may shortly receive letters or emails from their Internet Service Provider (ISP) regarding the use of their broadband connection ‘to share copyrighted material’. Users who use Torrent websites and software to download shows will be targeted, rather than anyone who streams videos.

Letters will start being sent out from January 17th and at this stage will explain where content can be downloaded legally, and not necessarily imply the user is going to get in trouble.

The letter reads:

Get it Right is a government-backed campaign acting for copyright owners who think their content’s been shared without their permission.

It looks like someone has been using your broadband to share copyrighted material (that means things like music, films, sport or books).

And as your broadband provider, we have to let you know when this happens.

“Like other broadband providers and content owners (such as film makers, music producers, musicians, actors, computer software creators, writers etc.), we take copyright law seriously,” said BT in expressing its role in and support for the campaign.

“This is because we all enjoy watching, listening to and using creative content. The creative industries generate over 200,000 new jobs and contribute over £9 billion into the UK economy each year. In order to support this, and continue to have a world-leading creative content sector, as users we need to make sure that content is sourced from genuine sites. Unless we do this, it will be less likely that people will invest in the creative content industries which will mean we have less of the big, high-quality films and TV shows that we love,” it warns.

It points out that any of the following activities, if done without the permission of the copyright owner could amount to an infringement of UK Copyright Law and may get picked up in the Get It Right campaign:

  • Copying and sharing images, music, movies, television shows or other copyrighted material through the use of peer-to-peer networks.
  • Making copies of CD or DVD and then sharing through peer-to-peer networks
  • Posting or plagiarising copyrighted material from the internet and sharing on peer-to-peer networks.
  • Downloading software, MP3s, films, television shows, etc. from peer-to-peer networks, makes content automatically available to be shared by you (or whatever computer on your network is involved).

It adds that for the purpose of the Get It Right campaign, spotting alleged copyright infringement is done by content owners or their authorised representatives on peer-to-peer networks only. They do this using proven electronic scanning technology (which is used in the USA and other countries) which search publicly available information (e.g. IP addresses and files) that may be detected and verified when content files are shared on peer-to-peer networks.

The Get It Right team notifies BT when an alleged infringement has taken place on an IP address at a certain time. BT then identifies the customer using the IP address at the relevant time and tells the customer how to prevent it happening again by e-mail.

Users receiving such correspondence get details of all the copyrighted material shared using their Broadband by clicking the link in the e-mail notification where they will find help on how to prevent the sharing of copyrighted material in the future.

BT says that a user’s broadband service will not be affected at all as a result of receiving this e-mail alert. “The Get It Right campaign is designed to educate people so that they can choose to reduce copyright infringement and using genuine sources,” it advises.

 

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