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Irish ISP settled to introduce 3 strikes

11 February, 2009

(Dieser Artikel ist auch in deutscher Sprache verfügbar) The case introduced by IRMA (Irish Recorded Music Industry) against Irish ISP Eircom through which Eircom was required to block P2P filesharing by applying a filtering system to its network, was settled outside the court room. The music industry decided to drop the action provided Eircom introduces a "three strikes" system where users accused of filesharing by the industry would be disconnected after two warning letters.

Eircom is pleased with the settlement as it does not risk breaching privacy laws by providing to the music industry details about its subscribers and because it does not have to add software to its network that might interfere with its broadband service. Acording to the settlement, the record companies will provide Eircom with the IP addresses of persons they detect to illegally upload or download copyright works. Based on this information, basically, the three steps the ISP has to take are:

1) to inform its subscribers that their IP address has been detected infringing copyright;
2) to warn the respective subscriber that he (she) will be disconnected unless the infringement ceases and
3) in case of non-compliance by the above warned subscriber, the respective subscriber will be disconnected.

According to EDRi-member Digital Rights Ireland, this agreement is wrong from many points of view: it is unreliable, secret, undemocratic and disproportionate. First of all, MediaSentry, the company used by the music industry until now to identify filesharers is a company which has been recently found as operating illegally in several US states and that has a track record of false accusations. Although the music industry has turned to Danish firm Dtecnet, the process is still unreliable. The settlement is also private to the parties and the music industry and Eircom will be the only ones to decide, judge and execute. It is also undemocratic because the 3-strikes model was not discussed like in other European countries with public input through public consultation and legislatures. And it is disproportionate as with the present extent of the Internet, third innocent parties may be affected in the process as Internet connections are not generally unique to an individual.

The agreement is also bad news for Eircom's customers who will not be able to take action when accused of an infringement. Three accusations from a group of third parties will be enough to terminate an Internet connection. What it will also happen is that Eircom will have to modify its terms of service for all its current customers without providing a legal basis for a unilateral change of contract.

The three strikes process in this case is procedurally unfair. The music industry has tried to gain some points realizing this may be its only hope as automatic filtering and suing customers would not work.

The record companies represented in the case, EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner, have agreed to take "all necessary steps" to get similar agreements with all ISPs in Ireland. It remains to see whether other ISPs will defend better their users' rights.

Internet users face shutdown over illegal music downloads (29.01.2009)

Three unproven accusations and you're out - why the Eircom / IRMA deal is bad for internet users (29.01.2009)

Irish ISP Agrees to Three Strikes Against Its Customers (28.01.2009)

Ireland: Copyright Filtering Case Settles out of Court (29.01.2009)

"Three strikes" for Ireland - Eircom, music industry settle filtering case (29.01.2009)

EDRIgram - Ireland: Music industry sues ISP, demands filtering (12.03.2008)



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