Thursday, April 03, 2008

Filter or Else! Music Industry Sues Irish ISP

I've written a short update for the Society for Computers and Law on the music industry litigation against Eircom. Excerpt:
The music industry in Ireland started its campaign against peer-to-peer downloading and uploading in 2003/2004 when it started an education and awareness campaign. That campaign included national advertising aimed at end-users and specific warnings addressed to intermediaries such as companies and universities, as well as instant messages sent to users who were uploading particular songs.

In 2005 the music industry changed tack and brought the first action before the Irish courts (EMI and ors. v Eircom and ors. [2005] 4 IR 148) seeking to identify 17 individuals alleged to be illegally file-sharing. In that case the High Court granted disclosure of these identities under the Norwich Pharmacal [1974] AC 133 jurisdiction. Two further applications were made to the High Court in 2006 and 2007, identifying some 99 users in all. However, despite the significant publicity which these actions received, they do not appear to have any more than a short-term effect in deterring Irish users from sharing music.

At this point, and in line with the strategies pursued by the industry body IFPI elsewhere, the music industry in Ireland appears to have decided to shift the focus of its attention from the end-user towards the intermediary, and in particular towards seeking to compel ISPs to police the behaviour of their users.
The full text is available on the SCL site (no subscription required).

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