Virgin Media to Pilot Three Strike Policy?

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Following on from a post on the 14th February titled the ‘Government Turns Up Heat On ISP’s and Online Piracy’ it has been suggested that Virgin Media could be about to take steps to stop users using internet services provided by them for downloading files that infringe on copyright.

As part of the scheme Virgin Media has teamed up with the British Phonographic Industry to implement a three strike system upon users as early as summer 2008. As part of the plans, those who download illegal music could be issued with warning letters as a first warning.

A Second warning could be delivered in the form of an account suspension, with a third strike culminating in the disconnection of a user’s broadband service.

Tiscali is said to have looked at implementing a similar three strike system before talks collapsed over cost issues with BPI.

The proposed scheme would be the first time that an ISP has taken active measures in curbing piracy and decided to share responsibility of the problem. It comes amid months of stale mate between the record industry and ISP’s that has up until now failed to see an industry wide agreement reached.

The government has said that if an agreement is not reached by April next year then legislation could well be implemented to solve the problem.

Under rumoured Virgin plans BPI technicians will track networks logging individuals who download illegally. The account details will then be passed back to Virgin Media who will match a name and address and take appropriate action.

A Virgin media spokesman did respond by saying “We have not agreed to the three strikes scheme, not started trials with the BPI or any other rights holder, and not decided to snoop on customers and inspect their data”

BPI also responded stating “Unfortunately it simply isn’t true that we have agreed a pilot – or any sort of deal – with Virgin Media, though we continue to work towards that. We think that every socially responsible ISP should help their customers avoid the illegal use of their broadband account.”

Estimates put the amount of user’s engaging in illegal downloading each year at as much as six million, which record labels have been arguing results in billions of pounds of lost revenues in CD sales.


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