Six of the UK’s large internet service providers (ISPs) have reached a deal with the music industry to clamp down on illegal downloads.
The deal, which has been brokered by the government, will begin with letters being sent to thousands of the most prolific downloaders telling them their activity has been detected and is being monitored.
It’s believed around 6.5 million Britons have illegally downloaded music and films over the past 12 months.
Record companies and ISPs
BT, Virgin Media, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse have all signed the memorandum of understanding with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the body which represents record companies in the UK.
The ISPs have agreed to commit themselves to developing legal file-sharing services and to ensure their customers know it’s illegal to share copyright-protected music.
ISPs and film and music companies are also expected to develop a new code of practice on dealing with infringements.
The government will then look at the proposals and consider how they can be backed up by new laws.
Business Secretary John Hutton said: ‘This is an intelligent approach to tackling unlawful file-sharing…It tells consumers what they can do, rather than just what they can’t.
‘This light-touch approach keeps up with the pace set by technology and will protect consumers, creative industries and the use of technology now and in the longer term.’
No details are available of what sanctions might be introduced to deal with persistent online pirates.