The BPI (formerly British Phonographic Industry) along with Virgin Media have started getting tough with people they believe are downloading illegally. Virgin Media according to BBC News have sent out 800 letters to people they believe are illegally downloading warning them that they may face being disconnected and possibly legal action. This is probably a step up on the BPI’s RIAA like campaign and probably to help apply pressure with the negotiations with ISPs about dealing with illegal downloading of music (previous blog here). The downloading information has been provided by the BPI to Virgin Media according the BPI’s new page (here) – interesting given that the similar approach by the RIAA is coming under increasing legal questioning in the US.
The chief executive of the BPI told the BBC that the BPI in very bullish terms that if necessary the BPI will take the ISPs to court and win, including ISPs who will not participate in their actions such as Carphone Warehouse. This is also very reminiscent of the RIAA’s early campaign. It seems to me that the BPI have not looked at the way the US litigation for the RIAA is going which has resulted in both counter cases, a lot of embarrassing revelations about how the cases have been built. Not to mention that a number of US record executives and artists have been publicly disagreeing with the RIAA.
Interviews with a few of those affected so far suggests that Virgin Media may stand to lose subscribers as the perceived invasion of digital privacy talks hold, plus the ISP dictating how people can use the service that they’re paying for.