Feeds

Virgin Media and BPI join forces to attack illegal filesharing

Let's make threatening music together

Boost IT visibility and business value

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
UK fuzz want PINCODES on ALL mobile phones
Met Police calls for mandatory passwords on all new mobes
Canadian ISP Shaw falls over with 'routing' sickness
How sure are you of cloud computing now?
Don't call it throttling: Ericsson 'priority' tech gives users their own slice of spectrum
Actually it's a nifty trick - at least you'll pay for what you get
Three floats Jolla in Hong Kong: Says Sailfish is '3rd option'
Network throws hat into ring with Linux-powered handsets
Fifteen zero days found in hacker router comp romp
Four routers rooted in SOHOpelessly Broken challenge
New Sprint CEO says he will lower axe on staff – but prices come first
'Very disruptive' new rates to be revealed next week
US TV stations bowl sueball directly at FCC's spectrum mega-sale
Broadcasters upset about coverage and cost as they shift up and down the dials
Trans-Pacific: Google spaffs cash on FAST undersea packet-flinging
One of 6 backers for new 60 Tbps cable to hook US to Japan
Tech city types developing 'Google Glass for the blind' app
An app and service where other people 'see' for you
UK mobile coverage is BETTER than EVER, networks tell Ofcom
Regulator swallows this line and parrots it back out at us. What are they playing at?
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
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.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.