Premium rate services regulator to work with City of London force and music industry
The UK's premium-rate phone service regulator has agreed to work with the City of London Police and music body the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) to prevent online copyright infringement.
In what Phonepayplus is calling "a pre-emptive" strike, it will inform premium rate service (PRS) providers of websites that are involved in distributing illegal downloads.
These providers will be expected to block the companies behind the downloads using their services.
However Phonepayplus (PPP) will not investigate websites suspected of promoting links to illegal file-sharing content. This will be carried out by the IFPI and the Economic Crime Directorate of the City of London police. The IFPI will gather evidence of illegal downloads for the police, who will then examine the evidence.
If the police are convinced that illegal activity has occured, PPP will then make premium-rate service providers aware of offending websites and any company that approaches them to provide payment services.
The regulator told Computeractive it had not yet cdiscovered incidents of illegal file sharing through the premium services it regulates, but said that police officers have passed on the details of 24 infringing websites.
MasterCard, PayPal and Visa are already working with the City of London Police and IFPI to ensure their payment services are not used by websites whose operations are based on copyright infringement. The aim is now to stop these payments being added to mobile bills.
Paul Whiteing, Phonepayplus chief executive, said "As a proactive regulator, we are pleased to be working with the IFPI to ensure that we stop before it starts copyright infringement using the PRS payment mechanism.
"We are working with premium-rate service providers and the trade bodies who represent them to make sure a clear message goes out - there is no place in the market for illegal content that infringes copyright."
The regulator has also issued a Compliance Update on the ‘Provision of illegal music downloads using premium rate service billing' . "All PRS providers should read this update carefully," it warned.
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