Instead of threats and suspended service, ISPs are appealing to peoples’ sense of decency.
Internet service providers in the UK are switching gears when it comes to fighting file sharing and piracy, especially of high-dollar entertainment content. Instead of threats and suspended service, ISPs are appealing to the perpetrators’ sense of decency and morality with emailed reminders that what they’re doing is wrong.
This approach takes a polar opposite stance from a failed program in the US that relied on warnings and then a resulting, intentional slow down in service. Some critics of the program stated that the ISPs were essentially injecting code to spark “man in the middle” attacks in violators’ browsers, which obviously didn’t sit well with consumer groups.
According to ZDNet, the US relied on a six-strikes system which “allowed for users who received more than six alerts to have their speeds throttled temporarily by their ISP; their internet service tiers downgraded by their ISP; or be redirected to a landing page until their ISP was contacted or they completed an ‘online copyright education program’.”
That program continued for four years, and was halted due to ineffectiveness. The UK is taking a different stance, in that its ISPs will alert their customers after receiving similar notifications from copyright holders. Instead of a warning system and consequences, they will simply highlight how piracy affects others and offer the user legal sources to get the content they’re stealing.
The leading ISPs involved in this initiative have been quick to point out that they will not be forcing changes to their subscribers’ hardware or software, or to their internet service. One company has gone so far as to say that their warning message which appears on users’ screens will explicitly state that they are not being turned over to the police, despite the fact that piracy is a crime. Basically, if threats and disruption can’t make tech users behave, this program plans to try a little manners and common sense.