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Creative industries and ISPs announce copyright alert and education alliance

By | Published on Monday 21 July 2014

Warning Letter

The major internet service providers, trade body reps for various content industries and the government came together this weekend to announce Creative Content UK, which has at its heart the voluntary copyright alert system mooted earlier this year, which sort of puts stage one of the three-strikes element of the 2010 Digital Economy Act into operation (though seemingly with the support of the ISPs, rather that them being forced to participate via statute).

Under the new system, participating net providers will send alerts to customers whose internet connections – according to the record companies, movie studios or TV firms – are being used to access unlicensed sources of content, such as file-sharing networks. Customers will be told that accessing content from said sources is unlawful and will be given information on how they could access the same or similar content via legit services.

Although similar to the early stages of the three-strikes or ‘graduated response’ anti-piracy programme set out in the DEA, this system is actually closer to a voluntary programme set up by the content and internet sectors in the US, the letter-sending being more about educating consumers on what is and is not legit online, rather than telling them that they’ll be cut off or sued if they don’t stop their naughty file-sharing.

Alongside the copyright alert system, Creative Content UK will stage a high profile copyright education programme. Of course ‘educate the masses’ has been included somewhere in every anti-piracy declaration by either the copyright industries or government in the last fifteen years, though usually it’s been an afterthought to more draconian measures against the infringers.

Here the education bit is given equal billing, and indeed came first in this weekend’s announcement. And while the copyright alert system will be funded by the internet and content industries, the government will also chip in on the education bit. Though, tellingly, the initiative is being run out of the government’s departments of business and culture, not education.

And while the online piracy problem is not restricted to teenagers by any means, you can’t help thinking that if the entertainment industry had focused its lobbying on the Department Of Education fifteen years ago, rather than asking business and culture ministers for new anti-piracy laws, then perhaps copyright could have been brought into the curriculum ten years ago. And perhaps 20-somethings would now at least know the arguments for why respecting copyright is a good thing to do.

That said, the intentions of Creative Content UK on the education front do seem genuine, trade body and Department Of Business led copyright education initiatives to date have generally rated between lacklustre and woeful. But maybe this time they’ll crack it. Though if anyone says the word “gamify” at any point in this project, let’s assume it’ll be another failure.

Meanwhile a plethora of industry reps and political types lined up on Saturday to hail the arrival of Creative Content UK which – given the ISPs’ hostility to the content industries’ anti-piracy efforts in the past – is a definite achievement. Though you’re all busy people, we know that, so as we’ve already given you the general gist of the new venture, we edited this barrage of quotes down a bit for your convenience…

The government’s Business Secretary Vince Cable: “Respected”

The government’s Culture Secretary Sajid Javid: “Underpinning”.

Labour’s Shadow Culture Secretary Harriet Harman: “Innovators”.

Motion Picture Association’s MD EMEA Chris Marcich: “Fantastic”.

BPI’s CEO Geoff Taylor: “Landmark”.

BT Consumer CEO John Petter: “Pleased”.

Sky Broadband Director Lyssa McGowan: “Guidance”.

TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding: “Awareness”.

Virgin Media CEO Dana Strong: “Compelling”.

Association Of Independent Music CEO Alison Wenham: “Acknowledgment”.

BBC Director Of Strategy & Digital James Purnell: “Playlister”.

Equity General Secretary Christine Payne: “Livelihoods”.

Featured Artists Coalition co-CEO Crispin Hunt: “Rewarding”.

Film Distributors’ Association President David Puttnam: “Driven”.

Independent Film & Television Alliance CEO Jean Prewitt: “Exemplary”.

ITV’s MD Commercial and Online Fru Hazlitt: “Legitimately”.

PACT CEO John McVay: “New”.

PRS For Music CEO Robert Ashcroft: “Reduce”.

Publishers Association CEO Richard Mollet: “Ensure”.

Premiere League Director of Communications Dan Johnson: “Players”.

UK Music CEO Jo Dipple: “Household”.

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