With help from copyright holders, ISPs will send email notifications to subscribers whose connections are allegedly used to pirate content.
These “alerts” are meant to educate copyright infringers about legal alternatives in the hope of decreasing piracy rates over time.
In recent weeks the parties involved have put everything in place to get going. Following BT, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Sky have all now posted advisories on their respective websites.
A question that repeatedly returns is whether people are at risk of losing their broadband access. The answer for all parties is a clear NO. Sky, however, isn’t letting its customers continue on their merry way without any repercussions.
“Your broadband service won’t be affected as a result of receiving this email alert,” Sky assures its subscribers, but it doesn’t stop there.
“However, if you continue to share content illegally using your broadband connection, Sky will request that you take immediate steps to remove or disable any file sharing software that is being used to share copyrighted content illegally,” Sky writes.
In other words, repeat infringers can expect follow-up communication from the ISP, asking them to remove all BitTorrent clients that are used to share infringing material. That’s quite a strong message.
This promise also raises a new question. What will happen if the users in question refuse to remove the file-sharing software, or get caught again? Will that lead to more severe repercussions?
The FAQ section doesn’t go into detail on this hypothetical situation. That said, many ISPs reserve the rights to terminate accounts of users who are persistent copyright infringers.
TorrentFreak also reviewed the advisories of the other ISPs, but none of these refer to such follow-up requests.
TalkTalk does stress that they won’t report customers to the police though, and Virgin mentions that they won’t share any personal details with copyright holders, unless they receive a valid court order.
In a way, it’s not really surprising that Sky has a more aggressive approach. The company is a major copyright holder itself and has invested “billions of pounds” in entertainment.
Whether their emails will help cut these losses has yet to be seen…