Irish ISP to Cut Off Illegal File Sharers

Broadband Updates, Broadband's Impact, Intellectual Property, International, Privacy June 1st, 2010


WASHINGTON, June 1, 2010– Following a lawsuit by the Irish Recorded Music Association, Irish internet service provider Eircom has reached a settlement intended to stem the tide of illegal music downloads by its customers. Under the settlement, a strategy of “graduated response” will be employed to deter prospective pirates.

Eircom customers who are found to have engaged in illegal file-sharing will receive three warnings from the company to cease their illegal activity before Eircom will terminate their broadband internet access for set periods of time, beginning with a week on the fourth offense, a month on the fifth, and moving to a full year as the highest disciplinary measure. The plan will affect all of the 750,000 users currently using Eircom as their service provider, though its means of enforcement are still an open question, as Eircom has publicly stated that it does not intend to introduce monitoring software of any kind into its network. Offenders would receive warnings via letter, phone and pop-up ad before losing their access.

The plan has already faced legal obstacles, and may be limited in its appeal. Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner Billy Hawke had previously filed suit unsuccessfully against it on privacy grounds, and other ISPs have declined to follow Eircom’s lead.

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