The music and movie industries and several of the UK's leading ISPs have reached terms on a deal to tackle Internet piracy. The arrangement will see the BPI and MPA monitoring people sharing files illegally and the ISPs sending them "escalating" warning letters.

The introduction of the controversial Digital Economy Act in 2010 was supposed to significantly reduce online piracy but four years on just about nothing has changed. The legislation envisioned repeat infringers being cut off from the Internet, but that deterrent has never come to pass.

Instead, frustrated rightsholders – who believe that doing nothing against unauthorized file-sharing just isn’t an option – have been channeled into talks with ISPs to try and find a voluntary solution to the problem.

Today, and after years of wrangling, it now appears the sides have agreed terms on what will be known as Vcap – the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme.

The system will see the music and movie industries monitor BitTorrent file-sharing networks for infringement, logging pirates’ IP addresses as they go. These will be tracked back to ISPs who will send out a warning letter to the subscriber account associated with the alleged deed.

According to the BBC, only four ISPs – BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media – are currently signed up to the BPI and MPA scheme. Users of other ISPs won’t receive any letters for now but that could change in the future.