Following an investigation into the legality of a 3 strikes-style anti-filesharing mechanism operated by Irish ISP Eircom, the country's Data Protection Commissioner has now ordered the practice to be brought to a halt on privacy grounds.
But this setback for rightsholders was immediately countered by government promises to swiftly publish an order enabling rightsholders to have file-sharing sites blocked by ISPs.
In February 2009, the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) reached an 11th hour out-of-court settlement with Irish ISP Eircom on the issue of illicit file-sharing. The deal would see Eircom, at the behest of IRMA members EMI, Sony, Universal
and Warner, introduce a 3 strikes system for file sharers. By October 2010 things we already going wrong. Eircom sent out around 300 warning letters to completely innocent subscribers.
This huge error ushered in the involvement of Ireland's Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) and a wider investigation into the legality of the entire three strikes system. Now, according to a report, that decision is in and for the music industry
it's the worst possible news. The DPC has ordered a complete halt to the practice on privacy grounds.
According to The Irish Times, Minister of State for Enterprise Sean Sherlock will publish an order early 2012 that will allow rightsholders to go to court to prevent the country's ISPs from supplying their subscribers' access to infringing site.
What actually defines an infringing site remains to be seen.
The Irish government has now signed a SOPA-like law that will force ISPs to act as copyright cops and censor and block access to websites that the entertainment industry doesn't like. This happened despite widespread protests in Ireland against
The Irish Minister for Research and 'Innovation', Sean Sherlock, is claiming that the final version of the bill is much more limited than earlier proposals, and that it took guidance from recent EU Court of Justice rulings that say ISPs shouldn't
have to be proactive about blocking. That still means that copyright holders can petition to force ISPs to block all access to various websites. No doubt the major record labels and studios will be doing just that very soon.
Sherlock, apparently realizing just how bad this looks to the citizenry, is trying to balance this announcement out by also saying that he's launching the next stage of the process to review copyright in Ireland, with the goal of supposedly removing barriers to innovation.
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.