Virgin Media unveiled a curious music deal this morning. The UK broadband provider will offer Universal Music's entire library – from Amy Winehouse to U2 – as part of an unlimited subscription plan. Once signed up, customers can download any song they want and keep it indefinitely. Plus, the MP3s will come without DRM, the digital locks often put in place to protect against piracy.
But don't dare try to "share" these tracks online. In exchange for this remarkably liberal music deal, Virgin says it will seriously police file sharing and illegal downloads. "They include, as a last resort for persistent offenders, a temporary suspension of Internet access," states the Virgin press release. "No customers will be permanently disconnected and the process will not depend on network monitoring or interception of customer traffic by Virgin Media."
Few Internet providers have attempted such an active role in protecting intellectual property. Most of those who have resorted to peeping at customers' downloads – something Virgin promises not to do, at least not by itself. The statement is worded in a way that suggests third-party monitoring, but it's hard to know what Virgin is actually planning.
The company was also mum on pricing for the subscription music service. Rhapsody allows for unlimited streaming music for $12.99 a month, but once you stop paying, all that music evaporates. Virgin, on the other hand, lets you keep the files forever.
What would you pay for such a service? Let us know in the comments or through direct message on Twitter.