The British government has decriminalized online video game, music and movie piracy.
Software piracy is more often than not a service issue - wherein pirates provide a better (or, in some cases, the only) service than legitimate outlets. Furthermore, singling out random people who pirate and dumping massive fines on them isn't really helping the problem, as the British government has found out. Starting in 2015 in Britain, persistent file-sharers will be sent four warning letters explaining their actions are illegal, but if the notes are ignored no further action will be taken.
This new anti-piracy measure has been dubbed the "Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme" (VCAP) and is the result of years of talks between ISPs, British politicians and the movie and music industries. Geoff Taylor, chief executive of music trade body the BPI, said VCAP was about "persuading the persuadable, such as parents who do not know what is going on with their net connection."
He added: "VCAP is not about denying access to the internet. It's about changing attitudes and raising awareness so people can make the right choice." VCAP replaces some much harsher planned regulations, which included cutting the internet connections of persistent file-shares, and fines.
The British government will still strive to close and stem funding to file-sharing sites, but from the looks of things, the days of going after individual users with massive fines are over.