Ireland's Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) has told the country's biggest ISP to cut out its three-strikes-and-you're-out policy. The ODCP reportedly told Eircom that relying on IP addresses is unlawful, despite a court order to do so gained by the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA).
- On the one hand, where there's three columns of smoke, there's probably fire.
- On The Other Hand, Internet access is still a fundamental human right in Europe.
Plus, today's skateboarding duck: Microspeak: Offline (noun)...
John Kennedy reports:
The decision will come as a blow to the recorded music industry which...got the incumbent operator to agree to implement a 'three strikes' policy. ... IRMA would provide Eircom with notifications that would contain the IP address identified with illegal downloading activity.
The decision...will also touch a nerve in terms of a recent decision by...the European Court of Justice...that internet access is a human right and that EU law precludes...requiring [ISPs] to block users.
Rich Fiscus adds:
The Irish Data Protection Commissioner has shot down an agreement...made to settle a lawsuit...attempt[ing to ]force the Irish ISP to install monitoring software to detect copyrighted content. ... Eircom instead agreed to disconnect users after three allegations from the labels.
[The] plan involved relying exclusively on IP addresses. ... Earlier this year the...Commissioner began investigating. ... Yesterday he ordered a halt to it, giving Eircom 21 days to respond.
Pinsent Masons explains the background:
In June the ODPC launched an investigation...after [Eircom] sent 'first strike' warning letters to 300 customers wrongly accusing them.
Last month the European Court of Justice...ruled that although the protection of intellectual property is a fundamental right...[it] has to be balanced against other fundamental rights.
But enigmax urges caution:
But before free-flow-of-information proponents get too excited, the news is countered...by a sobering report which says that...file-sharing websites shall be made forcibly unavailable. ... [Irish] Minister of State for Enterprise SeÃ¡n Sherlock will publish an order...that will allow rightsholders to go to court to prevent...ISPs from supplying their subscribers’ access to infringing sites.
The action comes in response to threats from...EMI, which said it would take legal action against [Ireland] if [its] government...failed to take action.
So Glyn Moody gets dirty:
And now we have the latest twist in this continuing saga...this is by no means the end of the story. ... [As] usual, the recording industry's demands are for ever-more extreme powers.
This attempt to pressure a national government into changing the law for the convenience of a group of companies unwilling to move with the times is troubling. ... [It] turn[s] ISPs into the content industry's private police force, letting the former do the dirty work...while the latter...enjoy the benefits of their monopoly pricing.
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Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. His writing has previously won American Society of Business Publication Editors and Jesse H. Neal awards. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can also read Richi's full profile and disclosure of his industry affiliations.