UPC, Ireland's second largest internet service provider has won a legal battle against four record companies over taking part in a three-strike policy that would require the provider to notify and disconnect users accused of illegally downloading copyrighted material. As there is no legal basis in Irish law forcing ISPs to identify and disconnect accused people, UPC will not need to implement the three-strike policy.
Warner Music, Universal Music, Sony BMG and EMI Records were pushing for a familiar 'three-strike' system that would see an informal warning at first, followed by a stern written warning threatening disconnection, followed by a third strike of a 7-day disconnection. If a user continued to illegally download material, they could be disconnected for a year. Eircom, the countries largest ISP committed to implementing the three-strike policy earlier this year, but could renege on this following the ruling. Other ISPs in Ireland such as O2 and 3 Ireland have been paying keeping their attention on the ruling to see how to shape their own policy.
The honeymoon could be short lived however as the ruling has brought to light that Irish law is contravening European law by not having any legislation to deal with this matter and the government may well need to implement suitable law to ensure that they are meeting EU requirements. The judge overseeing the case condemned illegal file sharing.
"This not only undermines [the record companies'] business but ruins the ability of a generation of creative people in Ireland, and elsewhere, to establish a viable living. It is destructive of an important native industry."Mr. Justice Peter Charleton