In a first-of-its-kind deal, Universal and Virgin Media have agreed on a U.K. plan that makes Universal's entire catalog available - DRM-free - for a monthly subscription price, while Virgin will take a more active role in identifying unauthorized downloading of the label's music, The New York Times reports.
(I would have described "unauthorized downloading" as "piracy," for the sake of simplicity, but a forthcoming book by William Patry convinces me that words matter, and that "piracy" is the wrong metaphor.)
Offending users could find their Internet access cut off.
British officials praised the deal.
“Government has a role in creating the right legal and regulatory framework for rights and copyright,” said Stephen Carter, the British communications, technology and broadcast minister, in a statement. “However, the market will flourish through innovative commercial agreements between companies, and agreements such as this will help significantly in reducing any demand for piracy.”
There's nothing innovative about making ISPs into police dogs for the copyright industry. The industry simply must stop treating people who want their products into criminals. I think the monthly subscription deal sounds attractive, but ISP spying is simply a gross violation of the contract between ISPs and consumers.