UK Anti-Piracy ‘Education’ Campaign Launched, Quietly

Opinion

After a long wait the UK's broad anti-piracy effort operated by ISPs and copyright holders has finally launched. The UK Government-funded program aims to warn and educate illegal file-sharers in the hope of decreasing piracy rates over time, but thus far the response has been rather underwhelming.

uk-flagIn an effort to curb online piracy, early last year the movie and music industries reached agreement with the UK’s leading ISPs to send ‘warnings’ to alleged pirates.

Under the new system copyright holders will monitor illegal P2P file-sharing activity with a strong focus on repeat offenders.

The warning program is part of the larger Creative Content UK (CCUK) initiative which also includes an educational component. Though various PR campaigns the coalition hopes to change people’s attitudes towards piracy.

CCUK was launched after years of negotiating and the plans were widely discussed in the media. However, when the first campaign launched a few weeks ago there was a remarkable silence.

The first education campaign is called “Get It Right from a Genuine Site.” It encourages people to stay clear from pirate sites and use licensed services instead, so that copyright holders and industry employees are properly compensated.

The campaign was promoted alongside an ad which aired during the UK version of The X-Factor and elsewhere late October. In the high-profile advertising spot, which isn’t cheap, viewers were encouraged to duck dodgy sites and go legit.

“Get the stuff you love from genuine sites and support creativity. Download or stream from dodgy sites and contribute nothing. It’s your choice,” it says.

Get It Right from a Genuine Site

CCUK is encouraging the public to use the hashtag #genuine to promote the initiative. However, thus far the response has been rather underwhelming with only a handful of tweets, mostly from industry insiders.

Today, the hashtag is mostly used in totally unrelated tweets and on other social media the project isn’t really taking off either. The official Facebook page of the campaign has only 114 likes.

The only Facebook comment responding to the campaign ad is not very encouraging either. “It’s not 2003. No one’s getting pirated music from IRC or whatever,” it reads.

In addition to the ad, CCUK is also backing a large street art project. It’s not entirely clear how this offline project relates to online piracy, but perhaps it’s an effort to appeal to the target audience.

TorrentFreak asked CCUK who informed us that they are happy with the progress they’ve made thus far.

‘Get it Right from a Genuine Site’ is a long term campaign which seeks to engage consumers across numerous channels about the wide range of legal sources available and help raise awareness of the value of creative content.”

“We are very pleased with the progress of the campaign to date and as awareness continues to build, we expect to see strong results for the creative sectors in the coming year.”

In the months to come CCUK will release additional campaigns as well as the piracy alerts program, where BT, SKY, TalkTalk and Virgin Media will notify pirating subscribers.

A CCUK spokesperson previously informed us that their ultimate goal is to bring down local piracy rates. During the months following the rollout the file-sharing habits of UK Internet users will be frequently polled to measure the impact of the campaign.

“The aim of Creative Content UK is to encourage greater use of legal content services and to reduce online copyright infringement. There will be regular measurements of legal and illegal consumption of content throughout the duration of the initiative, which will be compared with levels before the launch of the program,” CCUK told TF.

Considering the response and exposure thus far, there’s still a long way to go.

Update: added a response from CCUK

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