The big record companies are after Irish ISPs

By EDRi · July 15, 2009

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Deutsch: [Die großen Plattenfirmen haben es auf die irischen ISPs abegesehen |]

The big music record companies, EMI Records (Ireland), Sony Music
Entertainment Ireland, Universal Music Ireland, Warner Music Ireland and WEA
International Incorporated, are after the Irish ISPs trying to force them to
adopt a three strikes policy against repeated illegal file-sharers.

The record companies have recently entered separate cases into Ireland’s
Commercial Court against BT Communications Ireland and UPC Communications
Ireland after having succeeded in reaching an off-court settlement with
Eircom. In February 2009, Eircom agreed to implement a three strikes rule,
cutting off subscribers that have allegdly infringed copyright and blocking
websites the music industry forbids, such as the Pirate Bay.

After the settlement with Eircom, the Irish Recorded Music Association
(IRMA) representing the big music record companies sent a letter to other
Irish ISPs threatening with court actions if they would not follow Eircom’s

However, both companies refused to comply with the request. BT stated the
deal with Eircom was just a private agreement between two independent legal
parties and UPC considered the request was unacceptable as it violated its
subscribers’ rights and interests.

The music companies claimed that after having performed a 48-hour scan of
the two ISPs’ networks, their experts found BT had about 45 000 copyright
infringements per month and UPC about 75 000 and therefore, IRMA was
demanding injunctions against the ISPs for making copyrighted works
available to the public.

The ISPs replied that although they did not support copyright infringement,
they did not consider ISPs were supposed to act as internet police on behalf
of the music industry.

After having received the summoning to court, UPC stated “it will not agree
to a request that goes beyond what is currently provided under existing
legislation. There is no basis under Irish law requiring ISPs to control,
access or block the internet content its users download. In addition, the
rights holders’ proposal gives rise to serious concerns for data privacy and
consumer contract law.” In the company’s opinion, the European as well and
Irish legislation “maintains a careful balance between the rights and
obligations of copyright owners, internet users and ISPs. The three strikes
policy that was agreed in private with Eircom as part of the settlement, and
any attempt to impose in upon the industry generally, seriously undermines
that balance.”

“BT Ireland believes there is no legal basis for such a claim and the
proceedings will accordingly be strongly defended,” was BT’s clear and brief
statement on the case.

The Music Industry v. ISPs – Round 2 – UPC and BT vow to fight (2.07.2009)

Music labels take (more) Irish ISPs to court (7.07.2009)

UPC gets served with legal papers from big music labels (1.07.2009)

Record firms take downloading action (7.07.2009)

EDRI-gram: Irish ISP Association rejects the copyright industry threats