Music Labels Lose in Internet Piracy Case; UPC Does Not Have to Enforce 'Three Strikes' Rule
Byline: Simon Creer
MAJOR record labels have lost a landmark case against one of the country's largest internet providers in a bid to clamp down on music piracy and illegal downloading.
Warner Music, Universal Music, Sony BMG and EMI Records had been attempting to force UPC to adopt a 'three strikes and you're out' rule to halt copyright infringement and piracy by internet users.
But the High Court ruled that UPC, the third largest internet service provider here with about 15 per cent of the market, did not have to enforce restrictions on people downloading music and films illegally because laws to identify and cut off internet users copying files were not enforceable in Ireland.
In his ruling, Mr Justice Peter Charleton acknowledged that internet piracy was damaging the music business, but said there is no provision for blocking or interrupting internet traffic, even if it is in breach of copyright.
'This not only undermines their business but ruins the ability of a generation of creative people in Ireland, and elsewhere, to establish a viable living. It is destructive of an important native industry,' the judge said.
The Minister for Communications, Eamon Ryan, said the ruling raised a number of important issues in relation to file-sharing and downloading. The minister said he will meet representatives from the music industry and internet service providers to agree on an approach.
Reacting, the Irish Recorded Music Association director general said the court had acknowledged Irish musicians were losing out because of the illegal trade. Dick Doyle called on the Government to reform the law.
'The judge made it very clear that an injunction would be morally justified but... the Irish legislature had failed in its obligation to confer on the courts the right to grant such injunctions unlike other EU states. …