Digital Piracy and the Creative Content UK Alert Programme

After years of negotiations and following on from the Digital Economy Act 2010 requiring Internet Service Providers (‘ISPs’) to implement ‘technical measures’ against consistent infringers, the ISPs and the rights holders group (including British Recorded Music Industry and Motion Picture Association) have agreed to establish the Creative Content UK alert programme (‘CCU’).

The CCU consists of two parts, the first part involves the role out of a 3 year education campaign setting out how music and movies can be downloaded legally. The Government has agreed to contribute £3.5m to this campaign and it is likely this campaign will be launched in early 2015.

Secondly, rather than restrict a subscriber’s internet service under the CCU, the ISPs have committed to sending four warning letters to the subscriber each year if it is found that the subscriber’s account may be used for breaching copyright laws. The right holders will gather the information including the IP address, the copyright content allegedly being infringed, date and time. This will then be provided to the ISP who will then send an alert to the subscriber. Currently BT, Sky, Virgin and TalkTalk have agreed to send out these warning alerts and it is envisaged that other ISPs are likely to join. The new scheme does not replace the rights and remedies currently available to right holders and ISPs.

With almost a quarter of all content consumed online in the UK infringing copyright, it will be interesting to see how effective this new scheme will be in curving copyright infringement.

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