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Virgin Media to send warning letters to illegal music downloaders
Friday 06 June 2008 04:28:33 by Sebastien Lahtinen

The Telegraph reports that from next week Virgin Media is due to start sending out letters to broadband subscribers who are found to be downloading or sharing music illegally. This is part of the joint campaign with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) aimed at cutting illegal distribution of music through peer-to-peer (p2p) services. The initial trial will last ten weeks and the paper points out that the letters are likely to land on the door mats addressed to parents of children treating the Internet as a free source of copyrighted music.

Initially, subscribers found to be engaging in such activities will just be educated by Virgin and an accompanying letter from the BPI. The letters will have details of the infringing activity which is likely to lead to parents confronting children over the morning breakfast table in the next few weeks. In the end, the BPI wants to see persistent offenders disconnected using the three strikes rule, following warnings. TalkTalk and Tiscali have both expressed concerns with the BPI's proposed system. The government has expressed the need for broadband service providers to deal with the problem or face legislation.

If you receive one of these letters, please get in touch - seb@thinkbroadband.com

Update: The press release on this issue has now been published on the BPI website.

Comments

Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
Not having a good week, are they
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/7432612.stm
Posted by cockney007 over 8 years ago
Yet another reason not to touch virgin media.
Posted by jrawle over 8 years ago
@herdwick: did the headline originally mention "pirates" by any chance? I like the way the BPI call this a "downloading education campaign". More spin than a CD.
Posted by herdwick over 8 years ago
"The BPI’s Anti-Piracy Unit has fought to protect our members’ rights for more than thirty years." somehow I always read it as the British Pornographic Industry so I can see why they changed to just "BPI".
Posted by normcall over 8 years ago
Not sure this is the whole story.
I'm with AOL and listened to their radio play a few weeks ago to see what it did.
Shortly afterwards BPI sent me two letters suggesting that if I was playing this to customers or the public, then I need a licence.
Coincidence or what?
Posted by scragglymonk over 8 years ago
tend to use shoutcast.com for free streaming radio and jamendo.com for free music to play and or donwload under a creative commons licence. Some get burnt to play in the car. Donations can be made direct to the artist :)
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Right. Just stop listening to music until they either stop suing comsumers ot you realise you don't need that crap anyway.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
And for those what are part of the insecure, slow and to be blunt rubbish virgin cable service who have had their modem MAC and IP cloned what happens huh??????????
Virgin become more clown like by the day.
Posted by uklad77 over 8 years ago
Well lets wait for the goverment legislation next year then shall we?

If ISPs can't show they are voluntarily doing something about illegal downloading, that is exactly what is going to happen (as the article itself says)

As it stands this is no worse than junk mail. No further action is going to be taken by Virgin Media.
Posted by bosie over 8 years ago
I see the BPI is at it again - trying to mop the floor with a dirty mop. Until they get their own house in order hardly anyone will support what they're trying to achieve. Without public support they simply can not win the important argument that theft is the wrong thing to do. After all, who is thieving from whom?
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
Presumably people who compose, write and record music are realistic in expecting to be paid for their work.
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
Evidently not, by the number who keep signing with the big record companies
Posted by c_j_ over 8 years ago
"People who compose, write, and record music are realistic in expecting to be paid for their work"

Seems entirely reasonable. So let's "follow the money" in the modern industry. These figures are from iTunes, where the physical costs to the record company are negligible.

Writer/publisher: <10%.
Performer: ~10%
Record company: ~70%

Still happy, Somerset?

Source: http://www.tomrobinson.com/records/music/index.htm
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
^^^ I was about to point out how silly his comment was, recently in another news article i pointed out from a £10 album the actual talent are lucky to see £1 of it. Maybe he will believe it now someone less bombastic than myself has said it.
Posted by AdamGz0r over 8 years ago
I think we may see some people taking legal action against Virgin here who have been unfortunate to have theyre connection hijacked or cloned and are completly innocent and then find theyre details passed onto the BPI, Im sure this would be in breach of the data protection act.
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 8 years ago
No DPA breach, if "Both letters will be distributed by Virgin Media, without the need to disclose customer names and addresses to the BPI. " is correct.

Basically BPI trawl P2P networks for possible VM clients, and once one is found inform VM who do the look ups.
Posted by AdamGz0r over 8 years ago
The key issue is 'if' Virgin will do this on behalf of the BPI or just forward the details.

And also like I said this could affect very innocent customers and letters like this could cause people much unneeded stress, people have taken organisations and individuals to court over less trivial matters and have found themselves winning nice compensation sums.
Posted by Somerset over 8 years ago
I'm happy! But it still means illegal downloads result in the writer and performer receiving nothing.
Posted by smithgt over 8 years ago
Silly question but, if your P2P traffic is encrypted how will they (Virgin) be able to identify Music or TV shows?
Posted by monty1158 over 8 years ago
Encrypted traffic is generally an attempt to bypass an ISP's traffic management systems, and thus stop the P2P traffic from being throttled. It does not hide the file sharer in the P2P application's IP list. I'm not sure of applications such as Morpheus, Kazaa, Limewire, and the like (As I don't use them), but if you dig into the connection properties of a torrent (there's one for each torrent),
Posted by monty1158 over 8 years ago
you'll see a list of IP's connected to the torrent, and who you're connected to. Programs like Peer Guardian and Protowall attempt to limit access to so called 'anti P2P' IP addresses, but nothing's ever perfect. As always, you do something illegal, you takes your chances.
Posted by Canopus over 8 years ago
Considering neither Virgin nor the BPI can tell what the content of the files you are sharing is (that's the nature of P2P), but, only that it is highly likely you are using P2P, could someone tell me how they differentiate between illegal file sharing and the use of something like the BBC iPlayer download manager that uses the P2P protocol?
Posted by Dawn_Falcon over 8 years ago
monty - assumptions, assumptions.

I use WASTE for file sharing for collaborative story projects, for example.

Canopus - deep packet inspection CAN tell the ISP the sort of packet. And it's easy enough to filter by packet header for things like iplayer...
Posted by monty1158 over 8 years ago
Dawn - I don't see how I'm making assumptions. I was just answering a question regarding how they could tell what you were doing if the traffic was encrypted by using an example. I was just pointing out that the traffic encryption was attempting to hide the fact that the packet was P2P traffic to the ISP, and not for keeping it hidden from the prying eyes of anti-piracy groups.
Posted by monty1158 over 8 years ago
Using a bittorrent client that supports encryption, you can still see who's using that torrent as clear as day, encrypted traffic or not, by looking at the tracker's connection list, and how it's possible to use certain applications to attempt to block access to said anti-piracy group IP addresses, which ties more in with what Smithgt was asking. Again, I didn't say it was ifalliable, and I couldn't comment for any other P2P app as I've never used them.
Posted by monty1158 over 8 years ago
How they're proposing to identify illegal P2P over legal P2P I've no idea, but just sending out a letter for any P2P traffic is overkill, and leaving them open to lawsuits galore if that's the case.Mind you, Virgin would be happy if that was the case. First battle won in the war on net usage. Next: People who download more than 1Mb per day, cinema trailer viewers, gamers, e-mailers, and web browsers. Can't have them clogging up the network either! lol ;)
Posted by lloydio over 8 years ago
It appears to me Virgin on the broadband front seem to be digging there selves into a deeper and deeper grave. Another slap in the face to put of punters!
Posted by moby_matt over 8 years ago
The industry has taken to actually using P2P software like utorrent to upload and download content, thus revealing the IP address of those downloading and seeding. This does bring into play the question of entrapment by seeding - after all, if they are seeding the material are they not condoning it's downloading?
Posted by nervous over 8 years ago
@ Somerset

Your heart really bleeds for those hard done to multi millionaire performers don't it.

Where was/is the law when big companies rip joe public off by charging up to £14.99 for a CD which costs pennies.
Posted by danieltyson over 8 years ago
"The industry has taken to actually using P2P software like utorrent to upload and download content, thus revealing the IP address of those downloading and seeding. This does bring into play the question of entrapment by seeding - after all, if they are seeding the material are they not condoning it's downloading?"
No. Entrapment only applies if it is being done by law enforcement authorities.
And no, it does not condone downloading. Being the copyright holder they are allowed to distribute however they wish. A police car can break the speed limit if it chasing a criminal.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"I'm happy! But it still means illegal downloads result in the writer and performer receiving nothing."

How much do you think a performer gets from say a £1.99 LEGAL p2p downloaded track huh??

Would you believe in some instances it is NOTHING AT ALL...... because that is true.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
Some deals artists are forced into with legal p2p sold music means they do not see any cash unless their single or album generates a certain amount of revenue... If it doesnt, they get nothing.... The record bozos seem to think thats fair citing claims of having to pay the host of the music (be it itunes or whoever) and other such nonsense why they dont get a cut.
Posted by aciddave over 8 years ago
@ danieltyson

"Being the copyright holder they are allowed to distribute however they wish."

Does that not mean then that if you download that file from the copyright holders then it is in fact legal to download it as they themselves are distributing it via P2P?
and why make the reference to the police car when you clearly state that it is not entrapment as it isn't being done by the law enforcement authorities?
Posted by danieltyson over 8 years ago
The police car comment was not in reference to entrapment. Although rereading my post never put thar across to well. I was trying to make the point that if you have the law on your side then rules are more flexible.
Posted by CARPETBURN over 8 years ago
quote"Does that not mean then that if you download that file from the copyright holders then it is in fact legal to download it as they themselves are distributing it via P2P?"
Thats a very good point, if the BPI is sitting their all anal watching peoples IP addresses downloading one of their artists tracks the BPI thereself would have to be part of the swarm in the p2p app that is distributing that material and also be uploading it to others thereself... would this not be entrapment??? and if not as aciddave saves it definately is content being distributed by the copyright owner anyway.
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