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A law suit by the Irish music industry against the country's major ISP has settled out of court, just two weeks into the proceedings. The settlement, whilst not great news for  Internet users, is better than it might have been.


The case concerns the Irish telecoms company and ISP,  Eircom, which was being sued by the four major music labels - EMI, Warner, Universal and Sony BMG - in the  High Court in  Dublin. The music companies were alleging that Eircom was liable for copyright infringement by Internet users accessing the ‘Net via the Eircom network. They wanted the court to order Eircom to implement network filtering measures to deal with the alleged copyright infringements.


The out of court settlement is reported on the website of Linx (London Internet Exchange). It is  understood that there has been  an agreement that Eircom will implement some form of 3-strikes or graduated response measures, and the music industry will

continue to hire a firm called Dtecnet to monitor and identify alleged copyright infringers. It is not clear what form the 3-strikes measures will take, but presumably, the information supplied by Dtecnet will be forwarded to Eircom, for some form of action to be taken.


Why is this better than it might have been from the users' perspective? Had they succeeded,  the Irish music industry would have  established a precedent of secondary liabilty for ISPs. The music industry would then use that precedent in political lobbying, in the same way as they use the Sabam v Scarlet case in Belgium - to  try to convince policy-makers to mandate the implementation of network filtering on a wider scale throughout Europe.


With an out of court settlement, there is no precedent. Any 3-strikes measures will have to comply with the existing Irish and European law and that means that the privacy of users personal data will have to be respected. And it will depend on the nature of the contract that  Eircom has with its users.


This is why the issues of processing of personal data, user contracts and filtering are so important in the Telecoms Package, which is about to go into its second reading in the European Parliament.


The first day's proceedings were reported in the Irish Times




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Iptegrity in brief is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I’ve been analysing analysing digital policy since 2008. Way back then, I identified how issues around rights can influence Internet policy, and that has been a thread throughout all of my research. I hold a PhD in EU Communications Policy from the University of Westminster (2010), and a Post-graduate diploma in marketing.   I’ve served as an independent expert on the Council of Europe  Committee on Internet Freedoms, and was involved in a capacity building project in Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine. I am currently (from June 2022)  Policy Manager - Freedom of Expression, with the Open Rights Group. For more, see About Iptegrity is made available free of charge for  non-commercial use, Please link-back & attribute Monica Horten. Thank you for respecting this.

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Copyright Enforcement Enigma launch, March 2012

In 2012, I presented my PhD research in the European Parliament.


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