UK ‘Pirates’ Get 20-Day Grace Period After Each Warning

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UK Internet providers will soon begin sending piracy warnings to subscribers whose accounts are used to share copyright-infringing material. The associated "Get It Right" campaign has now published a detailed website, answering the most asked questions, while adding some new information as well.

getitrightIn an effort to lower piracy rates in the UK, rightsholders have reached an agreement with leading ISPs to send “educational emails” to alleged copyright infringers.

The initiative, branded the “Get It Right” program, is expected to start any day now. In anticipation of the launch, the campaign’s official information portal has quietly been made available online.

It is expected that the emails will point suspected copyright infringers to this site where they can find pretty much any answer they need about the campaign. “Are you monitoring my online activity,” for example, or “Will this programme shut down my internet connection?”

We have covered most of these topics already in our earlier overview, but there is some new information as well. For example, it turns out that after an Internet subscriber receives a warning email, there is a 20-day grace period before they’ll receive another.

“After an Educational Email has been sent, there is a 20 day grace period during which time you will not receive any further emails. However, if further copyright infringement activity occurs and is detected after the 20 day grace period, you may receive another email from your ISP,” the FAQ reads.

Almost three weeks is significantly longer than the 7-days the U.S. equivalent has. Also good to know is that if no other piracy incidents are recorded in the future, all data is scrapped from the database after 12 months.

“If no further infringements occur and are detected and verified to be associated with your account, you will receive no more Educational Emails. Furthermore, all data related to this and to previous Educational Emails will be deleted after 12 months.”

Of course, it is pretty much irrelevant how many emails subscribers receive, as there’s no ‘stick’ involved. Even after more than a dozen warnings, ISPs are not handing down any penalties or punishments as part of the “Get It Right” campaign.

Another piece of new information is the fact that NOW TV (owned by Sky) and PlusNet (owned by BT) are now listed among the ISPs that will send out warning emails. Previously only BT, Sky, Talk-Talk and Virgin Media were mentioned publicly.

Overall the information portal does a pretty good job at answering the most poignant questions. It even lists several videos, partly ‘copied’ from the U.S. Copyright Alert System, to show how they work and how people to secure their wireless network, for example.

How people are tracked

What appears to be lacking is an official appeal process. From what we can see there is no option to dispute an infringement claim. Then again, this shouldn’t lead to any problems since people are not directly at risk of being punished under the program.

Finally, the makers of the information portal appear to be living in the past as the terms “shared” and “sharing” folder are mentioned on a few occasions, even in one of the educational videos.

This “shared folder” terminology refers to dated or defunct peer-to-peer applications such as Limewire (which is also mentioned) while the “Get It Right” campaign mostly focuses on torrent transfers.

BT made a similar mistake in their advisory last week, but the ISP swiftly updated its information after we pointed it out.

It will be interesting to see how the public will respond to the notices. ISPs and rightsholders have agreed to cap the number of emails at 2.5 million per year, and the program will stay active for a minimum of three years.

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