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Virgin Media first UK ISP to adopt 3-Strikes-and-out on illegal downloads [Updated]

# 31 March 2008, 13:17 by Cable Forum

Virgin Media looks set to become the first British ISP to crack down on customers who download music and other pirated material, illegally. For some time now, record labels have been lobbying for a “three strikes-and-out” regime that would see persistent offenders kicked off their ISP for downloading pirated music files. BPI, which is a music trade body, is said to be working with Virgin Media on a pilot scheme, which could see customers sent warning letters.

There have been concerns raised about how customers will get tracked and how will Virgin Media be able to tell the difference from a music track that was legally downloaded, from the many sites which allow music downloads for a small fee.

There is also the ugly issue raised yet again about privacy, many thousands of customers are still concerned about the implementation of the targeted ad system by Phorm that Virgin Media has signed a deal with earlier this year.

Phorm has technologies that will be located at the ISP end, this will register a profile based on the internet users surfing habits. We have sinced urged Virgin Media to ditch its deal with Phorm.

So not only will Virgin Media broadband customers have to contend with such issues regarding Phorm, they will now face yet more surveillance. Will ‘innocent’ data get tracked? To check for illegal downloads? Information on how this will be done is still unclear.

It’s estimated around 6 million broadband users are downloading music illegally each year. Record labels are crying out for action as they claim such activity costs them billions in lost revenue.

The government made its stance in February, that it would implement legislation by April 2009, unless ISPs came to a voluntary agreement and to co-operate with the music and film industries.

The BPI is said to have teams of technicians to trace illegal music downloading to individual customer accounts. It will then hand these account numbers over to Virgin Media, which will match them to names and addresses. Virgin Media will then hand out letters warning offenders and threatening them with disconnection.

The trial will apparently be live within a few months as Virgin Media say they are treating the issue of illegal downloading, “seriously”.

News Source:- Telegraph.

Updated: Users who have phoned up Virgin Media to query this issue are being told that they haven’t made any final arrangement or deal and that the talks with BPI are in the early stages.

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