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Record Labels Ask Broadband Companies To Identify Illegal Downloads

Several British broadband companies are being asked to voluntarily sign up for a code of conduct to help identify users who download illegally.

BT, Virgin Media, BSkyB and TalkTalk are being asked to create a database of customers who have illegally downloaded music, film, books and software. Once the users are identified, a notice would be sent warning the subscriber that content was illegally downloaded and that their address and ISP would now be in the database. After the initial notice, further consequences could include throttling internet connection, blocking users from particular sites and disconnecting users for a limited time frame.

BPI which represents Warner, Sony and Universal, and the British Video Association have been negotiating with broadband companies for a few months in the hopes that the system will help minimize the amount of users pirating content.

Communications regulator Ofcom recently released data showing from November 2012 to January of this year, 280 million music tracks were digitally pirated in the UK along with 52 million television shows, 29 million films, 18 million ebooks and 7 million computer software or game files.

Concerns do remain abut the database and whether it would be illegal under the Data Protection Act which only allows companies to retain user information for certain commercial purposes.

A spokeswoman for TalkTalk said,”We are involved in discussions about measures to address illegal file-sharing and ultimately would like to reach a voluntary agreement. however our customers’ rights always come first and we would never agree to anything that could compromise them.”

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