A few weeks ago RIAA President Cary Sherman, when he wasn't suggesting that AV software should scan for pirated material
, hinted that there would be less piracy if users simply knew what they were doing was illegal. Sherman opined that AT&T's upcoming piracy filters
would effectively work not only as a filter but as moral signposts, giving users a slight slap on the wrist should they get into downloading copyright materials.
That belief seems to be supported by a new study
out of the UK by Entertainment Media Research, which was funded by a group of entertainment industry lawyers. The report claims that 70% of pirates in the UK would stop pirating simply because they received a warning from their ISP
One of the most compelling reasons to quit would be if a consumer received a cease and desist warning notification from their ISP. 7 out of ten currently accessing unauthorized content state they would stop if this happened. Interestingly, some of the most likely to be dissuaded are teenagers (78% of male teenagers and 75% for female teenagers)
That said, 2 in 3 believed that it was highly unlikely they ever would be caught. This study appears just as the entertainment industry is trying to convince a skeptical public and unwilling US & UK ISPs that broadband providers must implement piracy filters. Other than AT&T, most ISPs don't want the legal or moral responsibility of being Internet content gatekeepers.
The suggestion that an alert system alone would stop piracy sounds fairly dubious, given ISPs have been forwarding DMCA warnings to users in the States for years
, and -- even under the specter of possible lawsuits -- P2P use continues to grow. The entertainment industry likely wants to convince ISPs that warnings alone will work, because once they've got the ISPs agreeing to monitor their network for pirated content, it's a shorter walk toward having those ISPs implement more heavy-handed measures.