UPDATE 1st April 2008: Virgin Media has issued a statement in response to the Sunday Telegraph item which we covered, our original news item is at the end of this updated item.
"We have been in discussions with rights holders organisations about how a voluntary scheme could work. As a responsible ISP, Virgin Media is taking this problem seriously and would favour a sensible voluntary solution."Statement from Virgin Media
It appears that no trials in conjunction with the BPI are taking place at this time, which is very different situation to what was reported by the Sunday Telegraph and referenced by us in our original news item.
The issue of how any voluntary scheme for policing media rights should work is a hot topic and it seems a lot of the broadband industry would like to come to a voluntary arrangement, rather than a legislative one. If any single broadband provider goes it alone they will be brave, since the impact on illegal sharing of copyrighted material would likely be minimal as people would simply switch to a provider that has not implemented its own scheme yet.
The Guardian has a list of sites online where you can download music legally, some sites operate subscription services which if you are an avid consumer of music tracks may prove cheaper, but many subscription service tracks expire when you cease to pay the subscription.
Virgin Media looks set to come down hard on people caught illegally downloading copyrighted music. According to The Telegraph the BPI is working with Virgin Media in a pilot that could see dozens of customers being sent warning letters.
Apparently the system is set to go live within months, and persistent offenders will see their broadband connection terminated. At this stage it is not clear whether just the broadband component will be terminated, or telephone and TV services also. Even if only the broadband component is terminated people may find their package price changing due to the way the bundle deals work.
A couple of months ago we saw Tiscali fall out with the BPI with regard to who pays for the work involved in enforcing the warnings. Now one of the big four providers appears to be going for unilateral action, the move is likely to cost them some customers, but this will be balanced by those leaving freeing up network capacity.
Some Virgin Media cable customers are concerned over how Virgin Media will identify people, since in some areas of the country issues such as cloned modems and unauthorised connections to the network could lead to the wrong address being fingered.
In theory, billions of pounds are lost through illegally downloaded music, so it will be interesting to see what impact moves like this have on sales at the various legal music download sites. One thing that may change quicker is that companies will stop advertising their broadband connections in terms of their ability to allow downloading of thousands of tracks per day.Original news item as published 31st March 2008