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Virgin Media to Issue Warning Letters to Illegal Downloader’s
By: MarkJ - 06 June, 2008 (9:41 AM)

In what could be a first move towards adopting the British Phonographic Industry's (BPI) "three-strikes" proposal (see article 'To Ban or Not to Ban (Illegal File Sharers)' for details), Virgin Media is to begin issuing warning letters to any customer with accounts that have been used to download illegal (copyright) music files.

It's understood that the joint BPI / Virgin Media 10-week trial, which they're calling an "education campaign", will not threaten customers with disconnection. However, the press release indicates that two letters will be sent and while Virgin's may not threaten disconnection, the BPI's is likely to use more aggressive words:

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 to Virgin Media on the basis of information supplied by the BPI. Both letters will be distributed by Virgin Media, without the need to disclose customer names and addresses to the BPI.

Commenting on the new campaign, Virgin Media said: “Virgin Media's fibre optic broadband is a great platform for people who want to download lots of music on-line. But we want them to do so without infringing the rights of musicians and music companies. This campaign is about helping our customers understand how they can do this and get the best out of the internet.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI added: “Education is absolutely key to reducing the extent of illegal downloading, and we are pleased to be working with Virgin Media on this campaign. We believe that new partnerships with ISPs can help build an internet in which music is properly valued. That will benefit not just musicians, songwriters and labels, but all internet users who love music. This joint campaign with Virgin Media is the first step towards achieving that goal.

Virgin Media will also provide information for all its broadband customers on their website. Tiscali recently pulled out of a similar deal, sighting disagreements over costs, among other things.

The trial itself will begin next week and we would like to hear from any readers that receive such letters.

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