Record Labels Ask Broadband Providers to Reveal Illegal Downloaders

New data collection could lead to prosecution.

Ultimate Guitar

Record labels and broadband companies have begun to work together to tackle the ongoing issue of illegal downloading from pirate music sites, Gigwise reports. New schemes are being arranged to combat the problem which has been severly damaging to the music industry in recent years.

A number of large internet providers have been asked to create a database of the customers who illegally download music, films and books. The information they collect will now be able to show them the persistent offenders and could lead to the customers who are pirating content, getting disconnected or even prosecuted.

BT, Virgin Media, BSkyB and TalkTalk have all been asked by the music and film industry to cooperate in the new data collection scheme. This news follows recently released figures that between November 2012 and January 2013, a staggering 280 million tracks were downloaded illegally in the UK.

Ofcom research has also discovered that 18% of internet users aged 12 and over have recently pirated content, while only 9% fear getting caught.

The data collection programme would initially be used to target illegal downloaders by sending letters of warning. If the user receives more than three letters, the internet provider would have the power to slow down the connection, block or even disconnect the customer.

However, concerns have arisen that the collection customer data for this purpose will be deemed illegal under the Data Protection Act.

38 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I like the way Adult Swim put it: 200 million lost in record sales stays in the economy It can be used to buy anything, like, baby food. Piracy feeds children.
    Adult Swim bumps are surprisingly philosophical at times.
    Unfortunately the bumps are the only reason to watch Adult Swim, as all 90% of their originals are awful.
    You might not like this, but downloading illegally is still stealing and the reason why everything else in the music business gets more and more expensive. I don't think it's fair that half the people steal music and the other half pays a higher price to compensate.
    thus, we download, this half anyway, mostly porn though, better than whinny music lovers
    I do not condone illegal downloading and pirating, BUT, the music and film industries are way out of line here! It's not like this is going to prevent future incidences of pirating and downloading...
    This procedure does exist in France (letters, disconnection), it's called HADOPI, but they recently droped the "disconnection" part as they can't really do this (in France, a lot of people get phone, TV & web through their Internet connection, ISPs didn't want to split the offers and only disconnect the Web), and they are considering removing it : it costs A LOT, only a few people were punished and got really small fines and it has been proven that it had absolutely no positive effect on the piracy rates. There's a lesson to learn here.
    It also exists in Germany, if you share an album on peer-to-peer networks you're being fined up to $1000 per album b the court. And this does actually have a positive effect on piracy rates.
    I hope they realize the end result of this is some other way of pirating. I don't pirate myself, but I am sure some other way of illegally downloading files is already in the brewing this very minute
    Jacques Nel
    It's so funny, I know I'll get downvoted for this but everyone commenting here acting all really want to tell me each person saying "I don't pirate myself BUT..." does not ever download illegally?
    Pikka Bird
    Have a preemptive upvote! Now, I've never illegally download anything myself, but... this is completely bogus, and the line "...the problem which has been severly damaging to the music industry in recent years." highly offends me. They're spouting this as being some irrefutable fact, but no statistics back it up. I honestly believe the music industry's own hunt for "hits" is what hurts sales, since people are starting to notice that 80% of most albums is just pure filler, so they're not likely to buy the whole thing now that they can just buy single tunes digitally.
    How many times must the industry be told that IT is it's own worst enemy and that no matter what they do, people will still download, that is, until the industry get's with the 21st century instead of being stuck in the 19th. Also of note, whom ever cooperates will lose not only my business, but the business of others too. And screw the industry if they're too stupid to figure it out. I'm just sayin'...
    I've noticed a lot of vinyl does come with mp3 download codes, but on the other hand, a lot doesn't. What if you're an excessive vinyl consumer and download the album you just bought on mp3? I'm aware that it's somewhat illegal because you haven't bought the digital version, just the physical version. But that seems less illegal, but still up for the same punishment, as those who download anything and everything without buying anything.
    Usually I only buy vinyl if I really enjoy the CD but sometimes i find this a problem too. I still don't think I would download, purely because I'm content with just the vinyl.
    I do buy CDs but if it's something like Japanese bonus tracks which cannot be obtained any other way because i'm not super rich, I would use a youtube to mp3 converter. Does that make me a thief?
    Lol Natures
    If the record companies were really smart, they would start their own VPN service.
    i'd rather buy CD's, but the mark ups are ridiculous, sometimes im lucky enough to find a cd that i like with a damaged case for $10
    i hope this doesn't affect all the previous instances of piracy. downloading a lot of discographies in the past. i don't feel guilty because i only download because i buy vinyls of the album for 20 a pop or alot more money for boxsets of vinyls and just don't want to have to pay the money again for digital copys for my ipod
    In adition to the aforementioned vinyl thing, there are other reasons to pirate music. If you are really excited about a certain band you might already have all their albums and now you're looking for those live shows or out of print b-sides. There have also been "album only" bonus tracks on iTunes when you already have the album.
    Personally I think buying music as opposed to pirating is so much better, not only do you get to keep a permanent copy of the music, you also get to support a band you love. But at times to buy all the music you want just costs so much because of store/producer mark ups.If the label didn't take so much of a huge cut it would be a lot better
    I wonder if anyone realizes it's physically impossible to actually steal music. You can't steal something that's not tangible.
    I had a friend who told me he had never downloaded illegally from the internet, he did say that he had copied his friends illegal downloads. Downloading is huge, and it isn't going to stop. I find it an amazing way to learn new music, I downloaded the first Alice In Chains albums when I was a teenager and then went out and bought them, and their ep's, and I was the first at the store as soon as their new albums came out. When its worth it then you should pay them their dues, but buying blindly for bad music is a waste of money.
    Obviosuly I do not support downloading music from the internet, but it's just impossible to buy everything, because: 1) There are so many things unavailable to buy, 2) In my country the prices are way too high, I can't afford all the things I want. It doesn' prevent me from buying CD's though, Hopefully I'll get my 1000 CD someday.
    Good luck finding anything Rock/Metal at a big chain store (i.e. Target, Best Buy etc.) unless it is top 40
    Welcome to what us NZ'ers have had to put up with. Our Originally old fashioned copy right laws have been changed to the Micky mouse (TM) standard(TM) of perpetual copyright, but it is still Illegal to format shift part of our old laws kept and as for trying to do a parody of a work (sorry no can do) unless the original artist agrees (or company rights holder) Work that was once in the pubic domain seems to be treated as copyright Im talking about the book Wizard of Oz here It was Pubic domain when the movie was made Just try to use a self made image,song or poem inspired by the original work if it gets popular in come the lawyers. But if I write or preform something new Im protected instantly, Till the overseas lawyers say cease and desist Then the answer is $$$$ lots of money to pay your own lawyers for little or no gain. I think the only winners of this sad thing is the lawyers. Oh this three strike thing is undefinable you are assumed guilty with out charge and tile. This is sad as my forefathers went to war to stand up to a bully called Hitler.
    Van Guff
    I use Spotify, buy songs and albums off iTunes or buy physical copies. I've only ever downloaded 1 album illegally, and that was because I couldn't physically buy it in the UK. And even then, after getting it from youtube I was so worried. Even if the companies don't actually prosecute after getting info from providers, the scare tactics could work. If they instil a feeling of fear into the customer, or a feeling of guilt then maybe the situation could be a slight bit better.
    Guilt keeps you in check. Don't feel guilt, you don't owe anything to anyone.