"The British Phonographic Industry and UK ISP Virgin Media have done a deal which will see thousands of file-sharers getting warnings. The BPI will use its resources to track file sharers and will then hand the information to Virgin who will send out their own warnings to the customer along with a letter from the BPI".
In the UK and at the forefront of this controversy has been Virgin Media. Various reports suggested that Virgin would i
mplement the 3-strikes policy with the BPI but this proved very unpopular and it took just a few days for Virgin to deny any such deal had been struck.
Undeterred, the BPI has carried on working with Virgin who, according to a Music Week report, have now agreed to some sort of halfway-house. Virgin will not (yet) disconnect persistent uploaders but after receiving information from the BPI about users making unauthorized uploads, Virgin Media will start sending out warning letters along with ‘educational’ advice about how to ensure that the customer’s account isn’t ‘misused’. Included in the advice will be links to authorized music sources, along with the usual fear mongering about viruses and spyware.
In this 10-week trial, along with the letter from Virgin the subscriber will also receive a warning letter from the BPI. It will state that persistent offenders will be disconnected and/or taken to court, despite the fact that Virgin appears to be refusing to disconnect users so far.
BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said: “Virgin Media is the first ISP to publicly address the problem. It is a socially responsible ISP and I think other ISPs will look at this and see progress. I am very encouraged they have engaged with us. They understand the rights of musicians.”
It’s unclear what the BPI strategy will be on this but to really put Virgin under pressure, it will probably decide to put IP addresses it collects into a database. This way it would be easy to flag IP addresses that had already been ‘caught’ before and put these IPs forward to Virgin as persistent users - prime candidates for disconnection. Virgin Media (unlike comparable ADSL ISPs in the UK) hand out static IP addresses, so most users will be an easy target as they display the same IP address all the time. But for those Virgin customers with a router, simply changing the MAC address of the unit will force Virgin to hand over a new IP, which then offers the user the same perceived ‘protection’ as a dynamic IP ISP.
It should be noted that at least two of those accused uploaded just a single album.