Big six ISPs capitulate to music industry

Britain’s six leading internet providers have signed a Government-led agreement to stamp out illegal music file sharing.

Big six ISPs capitulate to music industry

The six providers – BT, Virgin Media, Orange, Tiscali, Sky and Carphone Warehouse – will implement a series of measures against those found to be file sharing.

Offenders may find their internet connection is throttled, or may even have their traffic “filtered” to prevent media files from being downloaded. Thousands of letters are expected to be sent to customers of the big six in the coming weeks, warning them of evidence of illegal file sharing on their connection.

UPDATE: ISPs yet to decide on file-sharer punishment

The ISPs are reportedly reluctant to impose the BPI’s preferred “three strikes and you’re out” approach of cutting off users’ broadband connections.

Change of heart

Some of the ISPs have already begun sending out warning letters to their customers, under previous agreements with the BPI. Both Virgin Media and BT have sent out thousands of warnings to customers suspected of making illegal downloads, whilst Tiscali ran a trial with the BPI last summer before cancelling the deal because of a row over costs.

The deal is something of an about-face for Carphone Warehouse boss, Charles Dunstone, however. He publicly lambasted the three-strikes proposal last year before claiming it wasn’t an ISP’s job to police its service.

“We believe that a fundamental part of our role as an internet service provider is to protect the rights of our users to use the internet as they choose,” Dunstone said. “The music industry has consistently failed to adapt to changes in technology and now seeks to foist their problems on someone else.”

Government deal

The new deal has reportedly been brokered by Ofcom, after heavy music industry lobbying of both ISPs and Government.

Speaking last October, the parliamentary Under Secretary for Innovation, Universities and Skills, Lord Triesman, said the Government was not prepared to tolerate “intellectual property theft”.

“Where people have registered music as an intellectual property I believe we will be able to match data banks of that music to music going out and being exchanged on the net,” he said.

Comment: Don’t let the music industry duck the law

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