Virgin Media?s file-sharing offensive begins

Joint venture with BPI sees 800 customers receive warning letter about illegal online activity
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Following its announcement last month that it is to team up with UK music body the BPI, Virgin Media has begun approaching customers to warn them about their online P2P activity, the BBC reports.

800 letters have been sent out by the ISP, informing customers that they should not be illegally downloading music files online. The offensive forms part of a ten-week campaign intended to ‘educate’ users about downloading. The BPI says thousand more letters are scheduled to be sent.

The Open Rights Groups’s executive director Becky Hogge said of the move: "We need to protect users from punitive measures. Stopping illicit file-sharing might not be as effective a measure as trying to monetise it.”

The BPI is pushing for all UK ISPs to sign up to a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy that would see persistent file sharers lose their internet access. However, to date Virgin is the only ISP to jump aboard the initiative, which is due to be reviewed next month.

Some service providers, such as Carphone Warehouse, have refused to back the scheme – leading the BPI to speak of possible court action against such firms.

It’s the second time Virgin has been in the news in as many days, following it’s wrist-slapping at the hands of the ASA regarding download speed claims in its UK advertising.

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