The UK's creative industries and internet service providers have joined forces to launch a new initiative that aims to "promote legal entertainment online and warn internet users" sharing film and music files.

Creative Content UK, a scheme that has been welcomed by the government, is designed to boost awareness of copyright and target people whose internet connections are being used to illegally share content.

The scheme will tell users that their connections have been used to share copyrighted material and help them find legal alternatives. Online piracy is believed to cost the global music industry £7bn each year.

Millions of "educational notices" will be sent out to internet users "detected by copyright owners",  with the scheme supported by three-year education programme run by the sector and government.

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Business secretary Vince Cable said: " Education is at the heart of this drive so people understand that piracy isn’t a victimless crime - but actually causes business to fail, harms the industry and costs jobs."

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Chris Marcich of the Motion Picture Association added: "This is just one piece of the overall approach to tackling illegal online infringement and promoting the importance of copyright."

Of course, among the legal alternatives to file sharing is music streaming – with many services currently available with subscriptions starting from, well, free. But which is the best one for you? Have a look at our guide below...

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