Earlier this week a report circulated which suggested that the UK had practically given up on trying to crack down on those who illegally download movies, music, programs, and games, thanks to a new agreement which has been put in place with the UK’s leading ISP’s to send warnings out to those who download illegal torrents and nothing more. This report was unfortunately inaccurate and highly misleading as in the UK, illegally downloading such media is just that – illegal.

In a post from the leading torrent news source, TorrentFreak, they explained that the government has just added an extra way for Internet Service Providers to reach out to those who are to be believed to be downloading illegal files. The agreement is called VCAP, and it stands for Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme, and what this basically allows is for rights holders and ISP’s to reach out to you with a series of letters advising you of better ways to get content that you’ve been illegally acquiring.

Now that seems all well and good because what’s a letter but paper and ink? At least they’re not going to cut your Internet, right? Well, in some cases, yes. But to say that that’s all that’ll happen is far from the truth. Why? Because copyright infringement is still illegal in the UK no matter what. This programme is voluntary and requires rightsholders and ISP’s to actually opt-into this programme, and even if they do, there’s nothing stopping rights holders from taking it further than these letters and actually prosecuting you from downloading that episode of Game of Thrones.

“Voluntary agreements avoid the complication of changing the law, that’s their entire point. They offer helpful mechanisms that the law does not already provide. For example, UK ISPs are not expressly required to forward infringement notices to users under current law, yet VCAP means that some rightsholders, not all, will get that ‘right’,” explains TorrentFreak.

Downloading things illegally has still the same amount of risk that it ever has, VCAP just gives rights holders and extra step before they come crashing down on you with the law. Just bear that in mind.

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