Blog Post

Anti-Piracy Letters: Could Services ‘Sponsor’ ISP Warnings?

Ofcom is only just starting to draw up the code regulating how ISPs should warn copyright-infringing subscribers, but the government has already provided some suggestions….

Here are three dummy letters – published “for illustrative purposes only” by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in February

These are the kinds of notices alleged infringers could receive starting January. Letter one leads with a general summary of copyright, letter two escalates by warning repeat infringers “you may be included on a serious infringement list” and letter three warns “your name and address (may) be revealed” to copyright holders via court for further legal action.

What each example has in common (apart from likely confusing the heck out of many recipients) – only about seven percent of a notification letter (a paltry 62 words) is given over to legal suggestions for “Where online content can be found”…

This section only specifically names BBC iPlayer for TV downloads, and – somewhat remarkably – tells alleged infringers: “You may be interested in the following links [sponsored links]“…

Sponsored links”? Surely the government isn’t expecting that online services – let’s say, Spotify or Lovefilm or – could advertise in warnings sent to ISP subscribers?

A Department for Business, Innovation and Skills spokesperson told paidContent:UK this is unlikely to be the case, telling us to wait until after the general election and Ofcom has drawn up the code itself to see what form letters will take.