UK ISPs offered controversial code to collect piracy data

Just under a fortnight ago, TelecomsTech reported on London-based MUSO’s request for Russian social network VK to clamp down on file-sharing. Whilst this helped reduce the damage by one rampant site, music is still illegally available – the UK government wants to further prevent this.

The voluntary code - which is being offered to BT, Virgin Media, BSkyB and TalkTalk - would allow inspection of downloading activity and could create a database of repeat offenders.

One of the biggest issues to overcome; is that this itself is illegal under the U.K.'s Data Protection Act.

On September 12th a "Downing Street breakfast" is to be held to discuss policing of copyright breaches. This is a highly delicate and sensitive matter at the moment alongside the NSA and PRISM revelations, the public is unlikely to be warm towards any further form of privacy intrusion.

Yet it’s an important matter to the entertainment industry; which is getting increasingly damaged. Ofcom – the UK watchdog - cites that 280 million music tracks were downloaded between November 2012 and January 2013; with 52 million television programmes also being downloaded in the same time frame.

One of the primary excuses for downloading TV programmes is the delay between US and UK broadcasts; something the most pirated show ‘Game of Thrones’ likely suffered as a result of.

Providers have been working hard to close the gap; now the difference is generally a few months rather than a year. Netflix is pioneering the most promising solution; with their UK on-demand service now offering hit-series Breaking Bad the day after the US broadcast.

Couple this with their Original Series’ which have been fantastic so far; House of Cards, Orange is the new Black, Hemlock Grove... and you have one of the more promising methods to reduce TV piracy.

Music piracy has likely led to the rise, popularity, and support of streaming services such as Spotify, Rdio, and Play Music. The iTunes model of purchasing a single download will almost inevitably die out within the next couple of years – superseded by piracy, or the convenience of unlimited music.

What do you think about the UK’s plan to offer ISPs piracy tracking code?

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