Anti-piracy music deal for Virgin

Virgin has pledged to tackle pirates as part of a deal to offer music to its broadband customers.
Virgin and Universal have signed a deal that will give the ISP's customers access to "unlimited" music.

For a monthly fee, Virgin's broadband customers will be able to download or stream as many MP3 files as they want.

As part of the deal, Virgin has pledged to aggressively police use to stop the MP3 tracks turning up on file-sharing networks.

Virgin said it was in talks to add other music firms' back catalogues to the service.

The service is due to be launched before Christmas 2009. Virgin has not said how much the service will cost every month. But it said it could be comparable to the cost of a couple of albums a month.

Those signing up will be able to put the tracks on any music player and keep the music they have downloaded even if they stop paying the monthly fee.

Artists such as Amy Winehouse, Girls Aloud, La Roux and Just Jack are signed to Universal.

Virgin said it had vowed to try a range of anti-piracy measures as part of the deal. The last resort would be a temporary suspension of a customer's internet connection if that person consistently ignored warnings about their activity.

The deal was announced the day before the UK government releases the final version of the Digital Britain report put together by Lord Carter.

The report is widely expected to bestow new powers on communications watchdog Ofcom that will let it compel ISPs to do more to tackle file-sharing.

It is thought that one favoured solution to discourage persistent pirates will be to dial down their internet connection speed.

BBC NEWS | Technology | Anti-piracy music deal for Virgin