Thursday 12 January 2012

Irish three strikes deal works 'incredibly well' -- but will it spread?

The battle for the heart and soul of copyright in recorded music continues in Ireland, where The Irish Times ("EMI Records launches action against State over anti-piracy order", by Carol Madden, here) reports on further legal action to prevent unauthorised music downloads.  According to this article:
"The Irish arm of multinational music group EMI has launched a High Court action against the State as part of its bid to stop the illegal downloading of music. The Government recently pledged to issue an order to allow copyright holders to compel internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to websites that they consider are engaged in piracy. However, EMI Records (Ireland) remains unhappy with what it perceives to be foot-dragging on the part of the Government in tackling this issue. It is concerned that the matter could be delayed again, and that even if a statutory instrument is issued, its contents may not be satisfactory.

Chief executive Willie Kavanagh ... said yesterday that EMI asked the Government to show them the forthcoming instrument, but it has not yet received it, “leading me to believe it’s unlikely to satisfy the music industry’s requirement for injunctive relief”.

... [In] 2010, ... EMI and a number of its peers took a High Court case in an attempt to force UPC to impose certain anti-piracy measures. The High Court noted a provision stopping ISPs from allowing access to pirate sites was needed to align Irish law with EU requirements. The Government has promised to publish details of an order that will do this later this month.

Currently the music industry body Irma has an agreement with Eircom whereby it notifies the company if it detects its customers are sharing copyrighted music on peer-to-peer services. Eircom then disconnects the broadband connection of customers found to be repeatedly engaging in this activity. Mr Kavanagh said Eircom’s “three strikes” rule is “working incredibly well”, and ideally EMI would like to see a similar regime in place for other ISPs ....".
While the Court of Justice of the European Union, in Case C-70/10 Scarlet v SABAM, limited the burden that a court could place on an ISP in terms of monitoring and eliminating fire-sharing activity, the same ruling also provided a good deal of guidance as to how copyright owners might wish to proceed in obtaining relief. We await the proposals of the Irish government safe in the knowledge that there will be plenty of copyright enthusiasts at hand to scrutinise them for Scarlet-compliance.

Thanks are due to William Earley (McCann FitzGerald Solicitors, Dublin) for drawing our attention to this item.

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