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Virgin Educates File-Sharers with Mistaken Envelopes
July 3, 2008
Thomas Mennecke
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There seems to already be a bit of a hiccup in Virgin Media's campaign to educate file-sharers. Last month, Virgin Media and the BPI joined forces in an effort to educate those suspected of uploading on P2P networks. This effort involved Virgin Media sending letters from both Virgin and the BPI informing suspected P2P pirates the dangers and alternatives to their activities. Virgin assured the Internet community that this was not part of a "three strikes" policy to disconnect users.

So imagine the surprise of 800 individuals when they received a letter from Virgin Media with: "Important. If you don't read this, your broadband could be disconnected" stamped on the envelope. BBC's Newsbeat, who is running an exclusive story, conveyed that customers of Virgin Media felt betrayed by Virgin's willingness to collaborate with the BPI.

Mitigating the potential, if not already realized, public relations firestorm poised to strike at Virgin Media, Newsbeat was told by spokesman Asam Ahmad that the phrase on the envelops was a "mistake", and reiterated the education-only aspect of the campaign. But has the damage already been done?

Virgin already promised that no one will be cut off, sued, or otherwise compromised as part of the educational effort. Education is fine, and information is a great tool to have, however saying one thing and doing close to the exact opposite has left a dirty feeling among Virgin Media subscribers. How exactly did a mistake of this magnitude occur, and is there any level of legitimacy to it?

This is a question many Virgin customers will be asking themselves. Why is their ISP collaborating with the BPI and whose interests are really being measured - considering that Virgin already admitted they cannot be 100% positive the letter recipients are actually the offending individuals. Alternatively, customers may not even bother with the questions, and instead find a different ISP, such as Carphone Warehouse, which rejected the collaborative effort.

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Entertainment Industry :: Other

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