In association with heise online

10 June 2008, 15:32

Virgin Media partners with BPI to control piracy

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Virgin Media and the BPI have announced a new partnership education programme that aims to reduce media piracy by issuing warning letters to suspected perpetrators who are signed up customers of the media giant's ISP service.

A Virgin Media spokesperson told heise Security it is intended to "help Virgin Media's broadband customers safely download music from the internet and avoid the risk of legal action. As part of the campaign, customers whose accounts appear to have been used to distribute music in breach of copyright will receive informative letters, one from Virgin Media and one from the BPI. ... Accounts will be identified by Virgin Media on the basis of information supplied by the BPI."

This is obviously a low-key collaborative approach to the problem – in stark contrast to the hard line taken by bodies such as the RIAA in the US. The BPI press release states "The new campaign will provide practical advice on how to prevent account misuse, links to legitimate sources of on-line music and information about the potential dangers of downloading files from unauthorised sources, including increased threats from viruses and spyware. "

The BPI – the remit of which includes the promotion, education, lobbying and support of performing arts in addition to the protection of copyright in recorded material – will contribute by identifying the IP addresses of suspects, but will not have access to their personal details. Virgin stated "Both letters will be distributed by Virgin Media, without the need to disclose customer names and addresses to the BPI." Geoff Taylor, BPI Chief Executive told heise Security "Without going into precise technical details, we identify files the same way that any p2p user does, we merely use a semi-automated process".


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