Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

UPC 1, Irish record labels 0

The legal action taken by four Irish major record labels against UPC, the third biggest internet service provider in Ireland, has not gone according to the script. Per Ciara O’Brien’s report, Mr Justice Peter Charleton has ruled that “laws to …

Mon, Oct 11, 2010, 14:06

   

The legal action taken by four Irish major record labels against UPC, the third biggest internet service provider in Ireland, has not gone according to the script.

Per Ciara O’Brien’s report, Mr Justice Peter Charleton has ruled that “laws to identify and cut off internet users illegally copying music files were not enforceable in Ireland”.

The judge, who issued the ruling which allowed Eircom to proceed with their three-strikes-and-your-internet-is-cut-off policy back in April along with a quote from St Colmcille, said that laws were not in place in Ireland to enforce disconnections over illegal downloads despite the record companies’ complaints being merited. He also said this gap in legislation meant Ireland was not complying with European law.

The case was taken by Warner Music, Universal Music, Sony BMG and EMI Records to force internet service providers to adopt a “three strikes” rule to halt copyright infringement and piracy by internet users.

As Ciara notes in her report, “it is not yet known what effect the UPC judgment will have on Eircom’s agreement with record labels, which it settled on out of court last year.”

For the record labels, Dick Doyle from IRMA, the lobby group for Irish record labels, said it was now down to the government to close the doors. “The judge made it very clear that the Irish legislature had failed in its obligation to confer on the courts the right to grant such injunctions, unlike other EU states. We will now look to the Irish Government to fully vindicate the constitutional rights of copyright holders and we reserve the right to seek compensation for the past and continuing losses from the State.”

No doubt, there will be more on this in the coming months and years, especially when efforts are taken to sort out the statute book (or are there more pressing issues which warrant the attention of our legislators and elected representatives right now?). What will happen, for instance, if someone cut off by Eircom uses this ruling to cause a rumpus? Of course, all of this will just be small potatoes compared to what might happen if IRMA move to “seek compensation for past and continuing losses from the State”, as outlined by Dick Doyle above. If anyone expects the big wigs in the record industry to go quietly into the night, they’re very much mistaken.