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TalkTalk has claimed music lobby group, the BPI, has refused its offer to send warning letters to customers found to be file-sharing.The ISP has been a noisy critic of the Digital Economy Act (DEA), saying the measures to shut down the connections of accused illegal file-sharers are disproportionate and expensive. TalkTalk and BT have filed for a judicial review of the Act.However, Andrew Heaney, TalkTalk's executive director of strategy and regulation, said the ISP is willing to help rights owners by alerting customers that their illegal file-sharing activities have been detected.At the moment, rights owners need court orders to gain access to the IP address data needed to identify users downloading illegal content.TalkTalk says it has offered to help send educational letters, if lobby groups such as the BPI pay mailing costs and don’t demand payment from their subscribers.“So far, they’ve been silent,” Heaney said at a meeting organised by the Federation Against Software Theft (FAST) at the House of Commons.Heaney said such letters would inform parents what their web-savvy kids were up to and remind people of copyright laws. “If a connection was being used for illegal file-sharing, we’re happy to send a letter to our customer and say: ‘Your connection is being used. If it was you, it’s illegal; if it wasn’t, you might consider taking some measures to stop it',” he explained.However, he stressed the letters shouldn't threaten customers with "consequences" if they fail to stop. "We’re very happy with sending out those letters, with the proviso that they pay for it," he added. "We don’t see why we should pay to protect the rights of third parties.”Heaney said TalkTalk feels the BPI would prefer to use legislative means – such as the controversial DEA – rather than co-operate with ISPs.“They refused to respond to our suggestion, because – in our view – they were holding out for the big prize of legislation,” he said. “We felt they didn’t want to find a compromise."A BPI spokesperson confirmed that TalkTalk did offer to send such letters. "Let’s be clear – we believe educational letters are important, and they are a key part of the Digital Economy Act," the spokesperson said. "But without any associated deterrent for repeated infringers, letters would not be likely to significantly reduce illegal file-sharing.""Moreover, we believe that TalkTalk should take some financial responsibility for dealing with the illegal file-sharing that is happening on its network. For those reasons, the discussions with TalkTalk at that time did not progress."Don't condone piracyHeaney said TalkTalk wasn’t against shutting down illegal file-sharers, but thought the specific measures in the DEA were doomed to fail.“Whatever is done to tackle online infringement, it must be fair and proportionate,” he added. “It must have a fair balance between the rights holders, and their rights to protect their property, and the rights of the consumers. That balance just hasn’t been struck [with the DEA].”Heaney argued that the DEA will cost millions of pounds to implement, and have very little effect because it focuses on P2P sharing, which makes up only a third of piracy. Even if it does reduce P2P piracy, determined sharers will simply move to a different method, such as using cyber lockers, Heaney argued.“Somebody described it as using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.Well, no, it’s a sledgehammer that misses the nut,” he said. “It doesn’t crack the problem."