Six major UK ISPs sign key anti-piracy deal

Six of the UK's largest ISPs, which account for roughly 90% of the country's broadband market, have agreed to a land-mark anti-piracy deal ('Memorandum of Understanding') with the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA), Ofcom and governments Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR).

The ISPs, which will be officially named later but should include BT, Virgin Media, Orange, Tiscali, Carphone Warehouse (TalkTalk, AOL) and BSkyB, have agreed to the principal of sending warning letters to customers that have been accused of downloading illegal music or movies etc.

It's believed that a deal was only reached after the creative industry watered down a request for ISPs to disconnect customers that failed to heed a provider's initial warning.

Precisely what action ISPs will take in the event of an ignored warning is not yet clear, although the use of aggressive traffic management/shaping and or connection monitoring is allegedly on the cards.

Clearly some elements of the proposed "memorandum" have not yet been fully agreed, which could result in an initially limited system being introduced. Either way, the originally BPI proposed "Three-Strikes" system appears to have been abandoned, at least for now.

It's also understood, as has been reported before, that UK ISPs are working to introduce some form of discount music subscription system alongside their broadband packages. We do not yet know whether this is likely to form any part of today's initial agreement, although it will probably follow at a later date.

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