Following a backlash to today’s news that Virgin Media has been sending out warning letters to 800 identified file-sharers, a company spokesman has stated that this is not a prelude to the ISP cutting off offenders’ internet connections.
As reported earlier, the letters being sent out have a warning on the envelope that reads: “Important. If you don’t read this, your broadband could be disconnected”. Clearly you’re reading that wrong though because Virgin isn’t actually going to disconnect you.
“We don’t make any kind of accusation about the user — it could be somebody else in their house, their block of flats or they might have an open Wi-Fi connection,” the spokesman told The Guardian this morning.
Virgin also reiterated that its plan is to educate users about what is kosher on the web and asserts that it’s not “pointing the finger at the account holder”. Interestingly though, the letters sent out include a message from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) which is backing the notion of giving dodgy users a series of warnings before cutting off their internet connection.
Naturally, that idea hasn’t been welcomed by anyone except the music industry. This morning’s back peddling by Virgin points to a potentially very exciting showdown between ISPs and music industry bodies. No one is loving Virgin’s Orwellian approach and it will clearly alienate consumers. With the company already getting bad publicity from its questionable adverts, maybe it will start to think seriously about sticking up for its customers for a change.