The anti-piracy companies (e.g BPI) don’t, yet, have any laws in the UK to deal with their file sharing nemesis: People with computers!
So BPI have started their own campaign, backed by the government, to clamp down on file sharers. By working with the ISPs they intend to deter, and then stop, people from downloading. Corporate censorship can often be far more powerful than other forms of censorship, or even laws.
Previously only Virgin was involved in the clampdown, with Virgin Media and BPI working closely together. Numerous letters have been sent out to people accused to downloading and sharing music/movies illegally, via Virgin Media. It is reported that 800 letters have been sent out , with possibly thousands more to come.
Despite Virgin Media working closely with BPI for the past few months in April 2008 the Talk Talk Chairman said that he would not spy on customers, and would not work with the BPI on this type of project.
However, in a new deal the major, negotiated by the government, the UK’s major IPs – BT, Virgin, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse (Talk Talk) have all signed up to work with BPI.
The BPI have a three stage program, the which starts with writing a warning letter to customers and ends with the individual having their account terminated.
While the UK government, ISPs, and record industry has been touting this latest deal, other, less authoritarian countries are not following suit. Sweden, for example, has made is very clear against similar methods