Databases of offenders would be used to police piracy
Record labels are asking ISPs to create databases of customers illegally downloading music, films and books, which could be used to disconnect or prosecute the offenders.
BT, Virgin Media, BskyB and Talk Talk are all being asked to sign up to the voluntary code for policing illegal downloading.
Measures to combat piracy will be high among the topics discussed at a Downing Street breakfast, where record label bosses and their trade association, the BPI, have been invited to meet David Cameron.
Between November 2012 and January 2013, 280m music tracks were pirated in the UK, along with 52m TV shows, 29m films, 18m ebooks and 7m computer software or games.
The data was collected by Ofcom, and it suggests that 18% of internet usrs aged 12 and over have recently pirated content.
Last month, the new series of Breaking Bad was released to UK viewers on Netflix and iTunes just hours of its US airing in an attempt to limit piracy.
Studios and music labels want action now because the Digital Economy Act, which was created to combat piracy, has yet to be implemented despite being voted into law by parliament in 2010. Delays mean the act will not come into force until 2014 at the earliest, and could be pushed back until after the general election in 2015.
The key part of the voluntary agreement would see repeat offenders receiving letters from their broadband company saying their internet address has been used for illegal downloading. The letter will warn of consequences and direct users to legal sites for buying music, films and books. Those who receive three letters could face sanctions.
Measures could include slowing down internet connection, blocking users from particular sites, disconnecting offenders from broadband for a limited period and ultimately prosecution.
However, there are concerns that keeping such databases may be illegal under the Data Protection Act, which states companies can only retain information about individuals where it is needed for commercial purposes.
Emma Hutchinson, a Virgin Media spokeswoman, said: "Music and film companies are speaking to broadband providers about how to address illegal file-sharing but what they’re currently proposing is unworkable."
In 2009 and 2010, Virgin Media voluntarily sent letters to customers who were reported by rights holders to be file sharing. However, the company did not keep a record of those who had received letters, or disclose their identity to any third parties.
A spokeswoman for TalkTalk said: "We are involved in discussions about measures to address illegal file-sharing and ultimately would like to reach a voluntary agreement. However our customers’ rights always come first and we would never agree to anything that could compromise them."
Talks with the prime minister next week will cover a range of ways to support the music industry, including encouraging legal digital music sales in the UK and abroad, according to a spokesman for the BPI. He added: "The PM is a keen fan of British music and has invited some key industry figures to discuss how it can be further supported, both here and abroad… As concerns the Digital Economy Act, we will discuss with government the need for swifter action to reduce online copyright theft, improve consumer awareness of legal services and make the UK the leading digital economy in Europe."
A spokeswoman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said the government would not force broadband companies to adopt any fresh measures. She added: "We are aware of industry discussions, and we would welcome a system that was effective and fair to consumers."