Universal, EMI, Sony and Warner have secured a court order against a decision that had brought the music labels' 3 strike anti-filesharing
mechanism to its knees. The four music giants will now reinstate the system at ISP Eircom and put renewed effort into spreading the practice to other ISPs in Ireland.
Following a 2009 agreement between the labels of the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) and Eircom, customers of the Irish ISP would find themselves warned should their file-sharing activities be tracked by rightsholders.
The so-called graduated response process would complete after a customer had received three warnings -- at this point their Internet would be cut off. But by October 2010 things we starting to go wrong. Due to a mix up, Eircom sent out
around 300 warning letters to completely innocent subscribers.
The error meant that Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) got involved in the process. The immediate outcome was bad for the labels. In December the DPC ordered 3 strikes to be brought to a halt on privacy grounds.
This decision was later challenged by the Big Four labels of IRMA -- EMI Records, Sony Music, Universal and Warner -- who said that the DPC ruling effectively disabled their lawful agreement with Eircom.
At the Commercial Court, Mr Justice Peter Charleton ordered the Data Protection Commissioner's decision to be quashed, a ruling which gives IRMA and Eircom the green light to continue with warnings and disconnections.