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Illegal Music Downloads: Three Strikes ‘Not’ Out

AUTHOR(S): Sharon Daly
PRACTICE AREA GROUP: Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution
DATE: 23.06.2011

A number of Irish record companies including Warner Music, Universal Music, Sony BMG and EMI Records have lost a High Court battle against UPC, an internet service provider, in which they sought an injunction that would require the ISP to cut off a customer’s broadband connection if there was evidence of repeat infringement of copyright at the customer’s address. Matheson acted for UPC in the case. The record companies had sought to force UPC into implementing a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy whereby those caught illegally copying music files three times would be cut off from the internet.

UPC defended the case by relying on the provisions of the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 and argued that the Act which implements the Copyright in the Information Society Directive in Ireland did not empower the Irish Court to grant the type of injunction which the record companies sought. UPC demonstrated to the Court that the only remedy currently available in Ireland relates to the removal of infringing material applicable to hosting services. The technical solutions such as blocking and filtering are not covered by the law as it is currently enacted.

Judge Charleton accepted the legal arguments put forward by UPC and found that the earlier decision he had made requiring Eircom to block Pirate Bay website, which was granted on an uncontested basis against Eircom and was similarly sought against UPC, was incorrect as he did not have jurisdiction to make an order requiring the blocking of a website.

A more detailed analysis of the judgment appears on our website at the following link here.

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