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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The U.K. Gives Up on Online Piracy

Posted by Erik Henriksen on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 9:59 AM

First, the greatest anti-piracy ad of all time, forever, in the universe:

Second: Huh, this is weird. Usually when I start applauding other countries for doing things a billion times better than the United States, I'm clapping in Canada's general direction. But this time it's ye olde United Kingdom that deserves a bow, as they've taken something that's long stymied Americans—the fact that, so long as we think we're relatively anonymous behind our computers, we'll steal any goddamn thing that isn't nailed down and not feel guilty about it at all. Across the pond they have this issue to, but they've given up on trying to do anything about it, which makes sense, because it's not something that will ever be fixed. So instead, they've just... washed their hands of it? No, that doesn't sound right. British people would... wave the problem away with a handkerchief? Arch an eyebrow at it until it felt so inferior it just kind of shuffled away? Whatever stereotypical image you'd like to picture, the point is the same: Britain's given up on trying to keep people from downloading shit they don't feel like paying for.

The Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme will take effect in 2015, installing a new system in which parties discovered downloading media will face no legal repercussions whatsoever. The bill dictates that pirates will instead receive up to four—count ’em!—four e-mails per year informing them of the harm that piracy can cause to creative industries. That’s it. No further legal action will be taken, regardless of frequency of offenses or volume of downloaded material. Major Internet service providers in the U.K. such as Sky, Virgin, Talktalk and BT are on board with the new bill, with others expected to fall in line. (Via.)

The chances of something like this ever happening here—where companies like Comcast might as well run the FCC, and where those same companies increasingly control not only the pipes content flows through, but also the content itself—is exceedingly unlikely. But hey! Jolly good job on your new, totally sensical programme, British people. Here in the States, we'll just keep getting letters of a different sort.

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