You’d be forgiven for thinking that the stuff you access through your broadband service on your computer is for your eyes only – right? Well, think again – if you’ve ever been tempted into the murky waters of online piracy, then be prepared – because big brother is watching. And if you’ve been illegally accessing films, music and TV shows, then you could find yourself the recipient of a ‘strongly worded letter’ from your ISP (Internet Service Provider). In the letter, your ISP will draw your attention to the fact that your internet connection has (allegedly) been used to access or produce pirated material.
The crackdown on illegal online material is part of a bigger anti-piracy initiative and has support from the government as well as copyright holders. At the moment, four ISPs are involved in the scheme – BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media but the expectation is that more providers will join as the initiative evolves.
The initiative isn’t about scaring people away from accessing material online, it’s more of an educational programme to make internet users aware of the many faces of online piracy and to direct individuals to genuine sources of content.
At the moment, the clampdown on pirated material will only apply to files shared via a P2P platform (‘Peer to Peer’). For example if you’ve ever used Pirate Bay, Kickass torrents or Torrentz to physically download the latest episode of Game of Thrones, you will have used a programme that will have downloaded it from another person’s computer. File sharing is not the same as watching or streaming content from illegal streaming sources.
ISPs themselves won’t be checking what files are specifically being shared, that’ll be down to a third-party organisation who will collect IP addresses (this is the unique code that identifies your computer) of anyone using file sharing services for pirate material. Those addresses will then be passed on to the various ISPs who in turn will issue the warning letters or emails.
So whether you start receiving messages from your ISP or not, be mindful of your online activity, use your head and download legally. And if you are downloading or streaming content to your devices, are you getting the right deal for your broadband with enough data? If you’re not sure then use our broadband comparison service to compare available deals today.