UK pirates to receive educational emails but won't be punished for ignoring them

UK pirates to receive educational emails but won't be punished for ignoring them
The Vcap programme aims to educate rather than scare pirates

A new scheme aimed at redeeming the UK's illegal file-sharers from their law-breaking ways will see emails sent out to persistent offenders from next year.

The government-brokered Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme (Vcap), agreed between ISPs and organisations representing content creators, hopes to educate web users, alerting them to file-sharing illegality.

Offenders will receive up to four emails a year under the scheme, but no further action will be taken if they send those warnings directly to the trash can and continue illegally downloading music, movies and books.

BT, TalkTalk, Sky and Virgin have already signed up for the Vcap scheme with several smaller ISPs expected to do so soon.

Changing attitudes

This 'softly softly' approach is geared towards educating those who may not know they're breaking the law while alerting parents who may not know torrenting is taking place via their internet connection.

"It's about persuading the persuadable, such as parents who do not know what is going on with their net connection," said Geoff Taylor, the president of the British Phonographic Industry.

"Vcap is not about denying access to the internet. It's about changing attitudes and raising awareness so people can make the right choice," he added.

Whether web users will pay any attention to the emails, knowing they are unlikely to receive any punishment for downloading Game of Thrones remains to be seen.


Chris Smith

A technology journalist, writer and videographer of many magazines and websites including T3, Gadget Magazine and He specializes in applications for smartphones, tablets and handheld devices, with bylines also at The Guardian, WIRED, Trusted Reviews and Wareable. Chris is also the podcast host for The Liverpool Way. As well as tech and football, Chris is a pop-punk fan and enjoys the art of wrasslin'.