Irish judge okays ISP to cut internet access to filesharers

A judge in Ireland has given Eircom permission to start cutting off internet access to illegal music downloaders. The judgment by Mr. Justice Peter Charleton may compel other internet service providers to cut off services to users that do not stop their illegal activities.

Last year EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner filed suit against Eircom over the use by others of its services for illegal downloading. As part of the settlement Eircom agreed to put measures into place to help stop illegal filesharing. They agreed to disclose the offenders identity through the IP address and ultimately cut off internet access.

During the trial the judge said, Younger people were now so much in the habit of downloading copyright material they appeared to believe they were entitled to have for free what is not theirs, he added. While the removal of internet access over illegal downloading was a serious sanction, there was “no freedom to break the law”. There was “a fundamental right” to copyright in Irish law existing since the time of Saint Colmcille who was often quoted for his aphorism: “to each cow its calf and to every book its copy”, he said. “The right to be identified with and to reasonably exploit one’s own original creative endeavour I regard as a human right.

The record companies and Eircom proposed a “three strikes and you’re out”rule for dealing with illegal downloaders. Eircom will first give notice to the downloaders that their activity is illegal and should be stopped. If it continues, they will be warned and risk having their connection slowed down. If their illegal activity continues, Eircom will send a third warning stating their internet access would be cut off.

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