If you’re someone who is still proud (though we genuinely wonder why) of actively downloading pirated movies, TV shows and software from the dark depths of the world wide web, SpaceX Starlink satellite broadband service isn’t going to like this habit. Not one bit. The company has been very clear about its policy against downloading or sharing copyrighted content on their internet service, and now, Starlink has also started sending warnings to users who are still downloading pirated content using Starlink satellite broadband service. Actually, this user who has posted the message he got from Starlink, claims he was doing it only to test what Starlink would do eventually. But well, now we know how serious the Elon Musk owned SpaceX is about keeping Starlink’s network piracy free. Not surprising, since a lot of internet service providers or ISPs, are actively clamping down on piracy.
A Starlink user who goes by the handle “substrate-97” on reddit says that he got a first notice for copyright violation for his Starlink broadband account. In a very clearly worded email, the Starlink notice says, “we received the attached notice from a content owner calming that your Starlink internet service was used to download copyrighted material without the right to do so. To the extent that you believe the notification from the content owner was inaccurate, please content the content owner directly.” This is as clear as it gets—Starlink is actively following up on content piracy complains made by content owners, for instance. The notice goes on to say, “note that downloading copyrighted content without a license or other right to do so is a violation of the Starlink Acceptable Use Policy (AUP). We must insist that you and/or others using your Starlink service refrain from illegal downloads of copyrighted materials.” It is good to se that Starlink is actively taking up piracy complaints, while there seem to be no indications of any traffic monitoring at its end.
Last but not least, Starlink’s notice to the user makes it very clear that continuing to download copyrighted materials without a license may lead to suspension or termination of the Starlink broadband service for that account. There is also the warning of a possible legal action by the content owner. In the Starlink AUP that have been referenced in this email, the service provider clearly states that, “SpaceX respects the intellectual property rights of third parties. You may not store any material or use the Services or the Starlink Kit in any manner that constitutes an infringement of third-party intellectual property rights, including, for example, under copyright law. Pursuant to Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, it is SpaceX’s policy to terminate the account of repeat copyright infringers in appropriate circumstance.”
For potential users in India, Starlink is already accepting preorders for the service which is expected to be available in India sometime next year. The refundable deposit fee is $99 which works out to just over Rs 7000 depending on the currency conversion rates. Starlink says that the $99 deposit is fully refundable at any time, though you will forfeit your priority service access position. It is expected that the Starlink hardware kits will be in limited supply, at least in the initial months, of launch of the Starlink satellite broadband in India—if you really want satellite internet, you should reserve your spot in the line. The Starlink kit gets you a ‘phased-arrayed’ satellite dish, a tripod and a Wi-Fi router. You can download the Starlink app for iPhone and Android phones to determine the best install location at your home or office. It is expected that the Starlink satellite broadband service will cost around $99 per month—at least that is what was confirmed by the early beta users who signed up last year. Whether there are any tariff plan changes for India, we do not know just yet. In India, Starlink will be competing with wired broadband services including Reliance Jio Fiber and Airtel Xstream, for instance, who offer 1Gbps plans with unlimited data for around Rs 3,999 plus taxes per month.