Feeds

Virgin Media and BPI join forces to attack illegal filesharing

Let's make threatening music together

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Virgin Media will launch a campaign against illegal downloading next week, when it’ll begin firing off warning letters to subscribers the BPI believes are sharing copyright music files.

The move is being billed by the cable firm as an “education campaign”. At this stage there will be no “three strikes” process; customers who continue to fileshare illegally will not be disconnected.

Accounts identified as being used for illegal music sharing by the record industry will receive two letters: one from Virgin Media and one from the BPI. Investigators will monitor copyright-infringing BitTorrent swarms and log Virgin Media IP addresses, which will be passed on to the ISP to identify the customers.

Virgin Media will distribute both letters, and no personally identifiable information will be disclosed to the BPI.

The letters will include advice on “how to prevent account misuse”, “avoid the risk of legal action”, and warn customers that peer to peer networks carry “increased threats from viruses and spyware”, a Virgin Media statement said. You can read the Virgin Media letter here and the BPI letter here (PDFs).

The campaign will run as a trial for a flexible period of about two months. Its effect on behaviour will then be reviewed. Virgin Media claims a lot of account holders may not be aware their kids or others are using their line to download music illegally, for example via an unsecured Wi-Fi network.

The BPI has been pushing for enforcement alongside education, but Virgin Media said it was unwilling to disconnect customers who don’t stop accessing illegal music. A spokesman said today: “It’s a bit of a judgement call for us to be making threats of disconnection or account suspension. We weren’t willing to do that.”

“There are now so many lawful cheap and free music services out there that we believe an education campaign in partnership with the BPI is the best way forward.”

The ISP industry is under enormous government pressure to cut a deal with the record industry following a successful lobbying campaign by the BPI. Ministers have vowed to introduce anti-filesharing legislation if a self-regulatory solution is not found.

The BPI has recently begun threatening ISPs with court injunctions if they do not agree to act against illegal filesharers. One such threat sent to Carphone Warehouse received short shrift from the firm’s bosses, who said they would never disconnect their customers and that they didn’t believe legislation will be brought forward.

Virgin Media appears to have taken a less confrontational approach to its dealings with the record industry. Although the “education campaign” is toothless in this first trial phase, getting a major ISP to publicly adopt a role in battling illegal downloading is a big win for the BPI.

Its chief executive Geoff Taylor said in a statement: “Education is absolutely key to reducing the extent of illegal downloading... this joint campaign with Virgin Media is the first step towards achieving that goal.” A survey commissioned by the record industry earlier this year claimed most illegal downloaders would stop if warned.

The BPI struck a deal with Tiscali to implement a full three strikes last year. Four out of 21 warned account holders ended up disconnected from the internet. The deal fell apart however in a row over who should pay for the process. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
6 Obvious Reasons Why Facebook Will Ban This Article (Thank God)
Clampdown on clickbait ... and El Reg is OK with this
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Time Warner Cable customers SQUEAL as US network goes offline
A rude awakening: North Americans greeted with outage drama
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
BT customers face broadband and landline price hikes
Poor punters won't be affected, telecoms giant claims
Netflix swallows yet another bitter pill, inks peering deal with TWC
Net neutrality crusader once again pays up for priority access
EE plonks 4G in UK Prime Minister's backyard
OK, his constituency. Brace yourself for EXTRA #selfies
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.