Virgin Media Targets Illegal Downloaders

Virgin Media Targets Illegal DownloadersVirgin Media are on track to become the first UK Internet company to start slapping down customers downloading music illegally, with the company announcing a pilot scheme with music industry body, the BPI.

The trial could see dozens of customers being sent warning letters, with the possibility of permanently hoofing persistent offenders off t’Internet.

After two years of negotiations between record labels and Internet service providers (ISPs), there’s still no sign of an industry-wide agreement, but Virgin’s involvement would mark the first time a UK Internet company has taken a public stace to share responsibility for cutting down on web piracy.

A spokesman for Virgin Media said: “We have been in discussions with rights holders organisations about how a voluntary scheme could work. We are taking this problem seriously and would favour a sensible voluntary solution.”

Virgin Media Targets Illegal DownloadersTrack ’em down, boot ’em off
The scheme would see teams of BPI boffins tracing theaccounts of illegal downloaders and passing on the information to Virgin Media, who will be able to match the data to individual customer’s names and addresses.

Record labels are lobbying for a “three strikes” rule which will boot dodgy downloaders off the Internet after a warning letter, followed by a suspension of Internet access.

So far, ISPs haven’t been keen to start sniffing around their customer’s network traffic at the music industry’s behest, voicing concerns about customer privacy and the difficulty of accurately pinpointing file sharers.

With the industry loudly whining about an estimated six million broadband users depriving the music industry of “billions” due to lost CD sales, the government announced that it would implement legislation by April 2009 unless ISPs came to a voluntary agreement with media industries.

An exasperated BPI chief executive, Geoff Taylor, thumped the table with gusto and bellowed: “This is not the time for ISPs to delay further. Government clearly shares the creative community’s frustration at the failure of ISPs to take action.”


32 thoughts on “Virgin Media Targets Illegal Downloaders”

  1. Sounds likely. Mr Branson says “Stop using my service or I’ll stop taking your moneyand you’ll have to give it to someone else.” What’s the date tomorrow?

  2. To be honest if Virgin Media did this I would be finding a new broadband provider.

    I do not want someone sneaking around and ‘overseeing’ what i download or view, people are already too aware of internet fraud etc.

    I pay £37 per/month for a service and this does not include big brother.

  3. Is this legal? The Phorm fiasco recevied government warning that ISP’s shouldn’t be allowing third partys to mess with users traffic. Now the BPI are going to be allowed to spy on users?

    If the BPI are simply joining torrent’s, noting IP addresses and forwarding them to Virgin, then that seems reasonable, but if Virgin start reading packet content, or allowing the BPI to do so then thats very dodgey ground.

  4. There is no way this will work. lets pick out the people who download music and films, oh wait that would be all of them.
    My fellow thought criminals would never allow it.

  5. There will always be a way around this it will not stop downloaders.

    There are a lot of clever people around the internet.

    They are always one step ahead.

    However im not one of these people.

    (although sometimes i wish i was.)

  6. Good comments all (esp like Virgin Customer!).

    Who the hell is going to use a service provider who restricts what they can do with their connection?

    Another demonstration (if one were required), that vertically integrated businesses — eg media company owning an ISP — are a bad idea. Conflict of interests.

  7. When oh when are the record and film companies going to learn. You cannot and will not stop piracy. For every barrier there will be a way to circumvent it. Why not trade cd sales for bulk digital distribution. With no overheads and a low price the industry could be back on its knees. Makes sense, but of course the greedy compainies will continue to prosucute a few people and chace the glory days of 10 pound a cd. Time to get real and face facts. As somone who owns 300 cds I feel Ive paid my dues! When compainies like apple can dominate digital downloads it tells me that the music industry has lost its way!

    Wise up or get out

  8. If the music & software industry want to stop people dowloading there products why not make them cheaper I for one would buy my albums at say £3-£5 and not download them, software if MS Office was offered for £50 how many people would buy it and how many would get i ripped off version simple maths lower the price to make it not worth wile to rip the stuff off and then you will sell more, probably make more money and we all would be happy

  9. …yea, good luck with that one boys!
    WHATS THAT YOU SAY BT? We welcome you with open arms, a connection that does NOT drop out midway through 400+MB downloads on a 2MB download connection, AND you promiss not to snoop! w00t! I’m there!

  10. looks like branson will be looseing loads of money and customers i pay £47.50 a month i will be leaving

  11. virgin would have to be semi-retarded to even attempt this.

    they would lose at least 7 customers every 3 days

    the virgin atlantic flights are still good though

  12. i’ll add myself to the list of ppl who will leave virgin if they do this. fools:(

  13. if this happens im gonna have to switch broadband providers. i dont download that much music but its not the point i dont want someone regulating what i can and cant do on the internet

  14. Yes indeed piracy is a problem but it’s always been there, before downloading and file sharing on the internet, how many of you ever made a tape of music from the radio? Yeah I bet that rings a few bells even with virgin staff. I’m guessing that even sir Richard made a few in his day. If virgin is going to get into bed with the record industry to police downloads it will alienate millions of customers. Surely then, why can’t a deal be made between the two whereby a percentage of the cost of the Internet service is put aside and used as a royalty payment? I think most people would be happy to pay a little extra knowing that by doing so they were then legally allowed to download music for their own personal use and that the creators of the content were getting paid for their work.

  15. I don’t download music but I am not going to stick around on an ISP that is planning on spying on me. I’ve been with for about 10 years and am leaving.
    I encourage all other Virgin customers to do the same – to set an example before all other ISP’s start infringing on our privacy as well.

  16. Simple really, why dont company like VIRGIN MEDIA, give you free access to musci downloads via a Virgin site, which would be included within your monthly subscription.

    If they were to do this, they would get a lot of customers to join.

    Oh hang on thats too simple isn’t it, silly me

  17. What about when they take someone to court and find out that they were not the person downloading? Some people have not locked their network routers!

  18. I never signed up for Virgin in the first place I signed up for Blue Yonder, a day before they were sold to Virgin. I have now past my mandatory year and if this is for real, I will be going elsewhere. Perhaps the BPI would like to contact Royal Mail about looking through my post, in case someone sent me a cd in the post.

  19. Won’t filtering traffic make them responsible for content? I thought all ISPs avoided this because once they do anything other than provide a carrier service they can be sued by all and sundry for allowing people to access various things.

  20. I joined WM about a month ago because I thought they wouldn’t do this. Anyone know if I can leave before the 12 months is up? This will mean reconnecting to BT :-(

  21. I couldnt agree more with these comments – the consumer has been continually ripped off by the big record companies – I remember replacing my scratched LP s for “unscratchable ” CDs only to find they were just as likely to get damaged.
    Apple are the worlds largest digital download retailer – they have no expensive retail space , storage space , high staff costs , loss through theft cost , unsold stock , transport costs , insurance costs , the list is endless and yet still charge 7.99 for most of their album downloads – I have paid my dues to the record industry , and now buy my albums from at an average price of 50p an album.

  22. That’s it!!! I’ll be rushing out to sign up for VM broadband. My current ISP lets me do what the heck I want online – all I ever wanted from my ISP was restrictions.

  23. So lets get this straight; The BPI can ask the Post Office to open and look inside all our wrapped packages at the depot, all because they are a bit larger than a few of the other ones laying around for dispatch??? what is the bearded one thinking?

  24. This is bloody annoying, but a symptom of the corporatised internet. Though I am sure there will be workarounds for first the virgin tracking and then the government blocks, eventually the internet as a free space will become less of a sharing community and more of one large shopping mall – unless we fight back on the terms that the music industry are fighting. They have been lobbying you say? Couldn’t we lobby too? Couldn’t we oppose the legislation before it happens, to make sure it doesn’t happen?? .. and in the meantime obviously vote with our feet and leave virgin too.

  25. There is a government petition – not able to put weblinks on this blog, but you can search for it. It’s shory name is ‘Lawyer ISP’, and it’s title is “We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to not force internet service providers to act as legal representatives for the RIAA and be treated like a common courier…”

  26. The uk is almost a police state already since brown the criminal traitor signed our sovereignty away and nobody even realises yet 3000 new laws… do you know them?, i have a criminal record, no jury, no solicitor, they deprived me of my meds for fifteen hours, look at the comments sullivan and karen brady made recently on the corruption in football and how the police treated them.

  27. what a suprise like hes not making enough my stuff is my own when i need the secret services ill ask myself thanks for nothing

  28. am i missing the point here could someone please explain all these super duper broadband speeds what is the point of them ??? mean i have 20mb connection but how much do i need to connect to yahoo or some site about growing your own tomatoes cause thats all that will be left and sites of a similar ilk, think virgin has shot its self in the foot here ,think again branston think youve got your self in abit of a pickle here

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