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August 5, 2008

BPI and ISPs commit to fight illegal file-sharing

The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) has made six ISPs in the UK agree to work with music and other rights-holders towards a significant reduction in illegal file-sharing by their customers.

By CBR Staff Writer

Virgin Media, BT, Carphone Warehouse, BSkyB, Tiscali and Orange have signed up to the scheme.

According to Jupiter Research, over six and a half million consumers’ broadband accounts across the UK are being used to access music illegally using peer-to-peer services.

The BPI has been asking the ISPs to implement a non-technological policy to prevent illegal file-sharing by their customers. The policy advocates Three Steps, advice, suspension and cancellation of contract.

BPI has said that it has signed a MoU with six ISPs on behalf of hundreds of UK record companies big and small. The ISPs have committed themselves to develop consumer education programmes and legal online services to prevent piracy.

The Motion Pictures Association of America and the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) have also signed. The MoU was a result of negotiations facilitated by BERR.

As a first step under the MoU, ISPs are required to send informative letters to customers whose accounts have been identified by BPI as being used illegally. They will work together, under the guidance of Ofcom, to identify ways to deal with repeat offenders.

Geoff Taylor, CEO of BPI, said: The work really begins now. We look forward to creating the procedures necessary to effectively tackle repeated unlawful file-sharing with the other signatories and Ofcom. In addition, the music business is constantly innovating to offer new, safe and legal ways to enjoy music online. This MOU will help to create an environment in which such new digital services models can flourish.

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In June 2008, Virgin Media and the BPI launched a campaign to educate the ISP’s customers about safe downloading of music from the internet to avoid the risk of legal action. Virgin and BPI have sent informative letters to customers, who have been found to be sharing files illegally.

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