Pirates Beware: ISPs are Working With the Entertainment Industry to Tackle Illegal Downloading (Again)

By Tom Pritchard on at

Those of you who enjoy pillaging the high seas of the internet might want to pay attention: ISPs are apparently close to signing an agreement with the entertainment industry in order to tackle the problem of internet piracy.

It's being reported that BT, Sky, Talk Talk and Virgin Media are the ISPs involved in what is being called the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme (VCAP). The programme would involve copyright holders monitoring internet traffic to log the IP addresses of file-sharers, which would then be handed over to ISPs who would send out "educational letters" -- better known as warnings to you and me.

So far there are no exact details on what these letters will entail, just that the maximum number that someone will receive is four. What happens after that? Nobody actually knows. All we do know is that VCAP is being regarded as an alternative to the repealed sections of the Digital Economy Act (2010), which would have seen a three strike policy applied to illegal downloading.

Fortunately for pseudo-pirates out there, the agreement has been accused of being "watered down beyond all recognition," which is bound to make the copyright holders rather angry. However, since the agreement has yet to be finalised I would be surprised if those terms don't change in the near future. [The Guardian via The Telegraph]