Industry likes Virgin's anti-piracy moves

By Andrew Laughlin

The music industry has welcomed Virgin Media's anti-piracy measures that will accompany its new subscription music download service.

It was recently announced that the cable operator will soon offer unlimited DRM free MP3 downloads to its subscriber base for a monthly fee.
A deal has already been signed with the Universal Music Group to access its back catalogue, while Virgin Media is also understood to be in talks with other labels such as EMI to join the scheme.

To launch in the fourth quarter of 2009, the new service will also be accompanied with tougher measures to tackle peer-to-peer illegal file sharing over Virgin Media's network.
Among the proposals, the service provider will temporarily suspend internet access for any customers who ignore written warning letters.

The recording industry has expressed greater happiness at these initiatives compared to the plans recently outlined in the Digital Britain report, which favoured deferring graduated response programs to 'last gasp' solutions.
Geoff Taylor, chief executive of industry body the BPI, has said that the government's anti-piracy proposals represent "digital dithering".
He has since described Virgin Media's approach as evidence "that graduated response is a workable way forward".

Universal Music Group International senior vice president of digital Rob Wells said that the measures are essential as the operator's fibre optic network is a "haven for some large abusers of intellectual property".
He added that the anti-piracy program will enable Virgin Media's new music service to grow on a sustainable, legal basis.