Government-brokered deal on P2P in tackling illegal filesharing

Following negotiations facilitated by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), BPI on behalf of hundreds of UK record companies big and small has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), with the UK’s six largest internet service providers. 
The UK film industry and BERR have also signed. The MOU places joint commitments on the signatories to continue developing consumer education programmes and legal online services. 

Most importantly, for the first time ISPs will be required to work with music and other rightsholders towards a “significant reduction” in illegal filesharing.   

To achieve this, in the first year hundreds of thousands of informative letters will be sent by participating ISPs to customers whose accounts have been identified by BPI as being used illegally. 

In addition, under the auspices of Ofcom, the signatories will work together to identify effective mechanisms to deal with repeat offenders. Alongside the MOU, BERR has today published a consultation on proposed new legislation requiring ISPs to deal effectively with illegal filesharing. 

It is anticipated that the outcome of this consultation will provide a co-regulatory backdrop to the MOU.   BPI Chief Executive Geoff Taylor said: “This MOU represents a significant step forward, in that all ISPs now recognise their responsibility to help deal with illegal filesharing. “Government has played an important role in bringing all parties together to arrive at this point, but the work really begins now. 
We look forward to creating the procedures necessary to effectively tackle repeated unlawful filesharing with the other signatories and Ofcom. “BPI has always believed that a partnership approach is the best way forward, as we showed with our education campaign with Virgin Media, launched in May. 
This has demonstrated that ISPs and the music business can work together positively to raise awareness about illegal filesharing.  And, working with government, we have been able to build on that progress and encourage other major ISPs to start taking a responsible approach.  “In addition, the music business is constantly innovating to offer new, safe and legal ways to enjoy music online, and to create a future for digital music where creativity and copyright are respected.
This MOU will help to create an environment in which such new digital services models can flourish.”