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The UK's biggest broadband providers are to issue warnings to customers not to engage in internet piracy.

According to, letters will be sent by BT, TalkTalk and Virgin Media to any subscriber who is suspected of infringing copyright online by using P2P file-sharing networks.

The first of the so-called subscriber alerts will be sent out later this month and will offer advice on what legal alternatives are available to piracy, such as streaming services Spotify and Netflix.

This means that recipients of the letter will not face any threats of punishment, but information that encourages them to operate within the law.

Speaking to, a Virgin Media spokesperson said the monitoring of people's online activity will not be carried out by internet providers.

Furthermore, the company stressed that copyright holders will not have access to any personal information relating to alleged infringers.

"Right holders will merely flag to participating ISPs individual IP addresses (in 'Copyright Infringement Reports' – or CIRs) that have been detected and verified where those IP addresses have been used to upload and share infringing content using ISPs’ networks," the spokesperson said.

"Rights holders will do this by using proven electronic scanning technologies which will be searching publicly available information."

Virgin Media went on to state a CIR will only be sent to an internet provider if it has been confirmed by the rights holders that copyright infringement has taken place.

"No educational email will be sent to a subscriber until the IP address in the applicable CIR that 'triggers' the email can be matched to the correct active subscriber account," the spokesperson continued.

Virgin Media added that the entire programme will adhere to the Data Protection Act 1998 and follow best practices as laid out by the Information Commissioner's Office.


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