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UK ISP Virgin Media appears to have blocked, temporarily at least, access to well known file sharing sites Rapidshare and Megaupload. While both have legitimate uses for uploading and downloading large files via the internet, users are also known to upload pirated films, music and software for anyone to download. Additionally, the sites are known for giving access to popular and cult US TV shows only hours after broadcast.

Virgin Media customers noticed the sites blocked on Thursday, discussing the problem in the Virgin Fibre optic broadband (cable) forum. "I am hoping that this is some sort of error and Virgin arent daring to dictate which sites people can access and which they cant,  that is just outrageous," forum member jo1st noted. Meanwhile xpath suggested the move could be pre-emptive action on the part of the ISP prior to the introduction of the Digital Economy Bill, which aims to crack down on widespread internet piracy.

'Thats excatly what the digital economy bill is trying to inforce. i dont know if vm are blocking access to file hosts such as rapidshare and megaupload etc... but theres realy nothing you can do about it if they are," xpath claimed. "The digital economybill gives the government the power to block access to any site it deams associated with file shareing and in the case of RS and MU MS etc.. it would make sence that this is now being done."

Later, a report from Bitterwallet claimed Virgin blamed an error for the problem, offering an way to circumvent the Rapidshare block by simply replacing http:// with https:// in the site address. By Friday morning, both Rapidshare and Megaupload now appears to be accessible for some Virgin users.