Eircom adopts ‘three strikes’ rule
Eircom has agreed to weed out illegal file sharers from its broadband network using the “three strikes and you’re out” rule. The record industry will supply the IP addresses of the offending parties, and Eircom will issue warning letters. The third time, the customer gets cut off.
The recording industry is happy, Eircom loses a broadband customer.
This latest action by Eircom is throwing up more questions than it answers. Exactly how will the music industry determine who is infringing copyright? Will they check that they are accusing the right people? Will the accused have any chance to defend themselves against the allegations? What about people who piggyback off your wireless network?
More importantly – for Eircom – if the other ISPs don’t sign up to the same deal – and there is nothing to say that they have to – does this mean that Eircom will simply lose shedloads of customers who would rather not have their ISP play Net Nanny for the music industry?
Despite some of the information out there, it seems that this agreement is strictly between Eircom and the music industry, and not legally enforceable on any other broadband provider.
This statement from Ronan Lupton, Chairman of ALTO today:
“As yesterday’s agreement between Eircom and the record companies was a direct action against Eircom it is not enforceable on Ireland’s other broadband providers. While we obviously do not condone illegal downloading or any illegality on or over the Internet, we firmly disapprove of any draconian measures that would compromise the privacy, speed or services offered to broadband users. We do not need measures to further impede the development of next generation broadband in Ireland.”
Will the record companies’ new approach even work? Threatening to bring people to court doesn’t seem to have, if they’re resorting to this. The tech savy know how to hide their IP addresses, the determined downloaders have probably already moved away from Limewire and the like, so this move could be yet a useless PR disaster, for both sides.
This, by the way, is the same plan that has already been tossed out by the British government for being too complex. [Telegraph] The IP minister compared it to stealing a bar of soap from a hotel.
And the UK isn’t the only one raising objections. Last April, MEPs voted an amendment to the Bono Report that throwing people of the internet would conflict with civil liberties and human rights. [BBC]
So the line has been drawn in the sand. It will be interesting to see who falls on either side.
Downloaders are being blamed for falling music sales. Perhaps the blame should be laid at the doors of the record labels who seem intent on pushing utterly rubbish releases from manufacturered pop bands that are dropped a year later.