Two of Britain's major music and film organisations have asked UK internet providers to create databases of customers illegally downloading music, film and books, and are asking for access to the information to help them to disconnect and prosecute offenders.
The British Recorded Music Industry [BPI] and the British Video Association, members of whom include the BBC and various large Hollywood studios, are acting on data collected by Ofcom that suggests 18 per cent of internet users over 12 use the network for piracy.
Between November 2012 and January 2013, says Ofcom, 280 million music tracks, 52 million television shows, 29 million films, 18 million e-books and 7 million instances of computer software were pirated.
The studios are asking BT, Virgin Media, BskyB and TalkTalk to pledge to gather this data, and make it available for prosecuting individuals.
The appeal has gone out ahead of 12 September's Downing Street breakfast between the BPI and prime minister David Cameron, at which digital piracy will be discussed in more detail.
Virgin Media has already sent letters to customers suspected of piracy by rights holders, but did not share any information with the rights holders or keep a recod of who it contacted.
If ISPs follow the labels' wishes, the rights holders could theoretically be able to begin patrolling sites such as BitTorrent for users downloading protected material, and be able to send them messages, or affect their connection quality or status, directly through an ISP.
However, TalkTalk has already told The Guardian that it will not "agree to anything that could compromise" its customer base.
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has said the government has no plans to force any action on the part of broadband companies.