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A group of six major broadband providers have signed up to a music piracy scheme.

The government reportedly encouraged the agreement, which involves BT, Virgin Media, Orange, Tiscali, BSkyB and Carphone Warehouse.

Also throwing its weight behind the initiative to apprehend customers seen to be illegally downloading tracks from the internet is the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

"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," said the organisation's chief executive Geoff Taylor.

It is thought that the providers will take a 'three-strikes-and-you're-out' approach to customers illegally accessing songs from the web, with warning letters being sent out initially.

The Carphone Warehouse's chief executive, Charles Dunstone, commented: "We will not divulge a customer's details or disconnect them on the say so of the content industry, but we will work with rights holders to develop a sensible and legal approach founded on protecting consumer rights and privacy."

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