Implications for Music Lovers

  1. theirishobserver. profile image59
    theirishobserver.posted 8 years ago


    An important High Court decision today allowing Eircom proceed with cutting off internet access to illegal music downloaders, mainly peer-to-peer music sharing groups, has major implications for all other internet service providers.

    Legal sources predict the judgment by Mr Justice Peter Charleton may compel other internet service providers to cut off services to illegal downloaders who fail to heed warnings to desist what the judge described as “theft”.

    The judgement arose from a settlement last year of proceedings by four major record companies - EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner —-against Eircom over the use by others of its services for illegal downloading. Other cases are pending.

    Under the settlement, Eircom agreed to implement measures aimed at stopping illegal downloading, including disclosing to the companies the uploaders and downloaders’ identities through their IP addresses, and ultimately cutting them off if illegal downloading persisted.

    Mr Justice Charleton today ruled concerns raised by the Data Protection Commissioner about those measures, including about the rights of access to the internet, did not prevent the measures being implemented. The measures were lawful and compatible with the data protection legislation, he found.

    There was nothing in the criminal or civil law which legalises that which is otherwise illegal simply because the transaction takes place over the internet, he said.

    The internet “is only a means of communication, it has not rewritten the legal rules of each nation through which it passes.”

    Since the early days of the internet, copyright material was placed on the world wide web by those with no entitlement to share it and downloaded by others who would normally have expected to pay for it, he 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 courts were required to supply, even in the absence of legislative intervention, appropriate remedies for the undermining of rights within the scheme of fundamental law the Constitution represents and were obliged to protect the rights of copyright owners from unjust attack.

    The owners of copyright have the exclusive right to undertake or authorise others to make that work available to the public but that legal entitlement was being “flagrantly violated” by peer to peer illegal downloading.

    In the circumstances, it was completely within the legitimate interests of Eircom to act as a body which upholds the law.

    There was nothing disproportionate about cutting off internet access because of three infringements of copyright as proposed by Eircom and the music companies. There were also adequate personal safeguards in the protocol agreed by the parties.

    The companies and Eircom propose a “three strikes and you’re out” protocol for dealing with illegal downloaders under which Eircom will first give notice to the downloaders their activity is illegal and should be stopped. If it continues, they will be warned they risk having their broadband slowed down. If infringement continued, Eircom would send a third warning their internet access would be cut off altogether and they would be cut off.

    The Data Protection Commissioner had expressed the view the Data Protection Act was an obstacle to implementation of the measures as these involved the release of “sensitive personal” information. The Commissioner’s concerns related not to the actual termination of the broadband service but whether the process leading up to termination amounted to an interference with subscribers’ personal rights.

    The sides asked the High Court to rule on those issues. The Commissioner did not participate in the case due to concerns over legal costs.

    Mr Justice Charleton ruled that IP addresses of suspected illegal downloaders in the possession of the record companies who intend to give them to Eircom are not “personal data” or sensitive personal data such as required the companies to comply with data protection issues.

    None of the companies have any interest in personally identifying any living persons infringing their copyright and the entire purpose of the litigation was to uphold the law on copyright, he said.

    He ruled the processing by Eircom of data of suspected illegal downloaders, as proposed under the settlement, did not amount to “unwarranted” processing on grounds it prejudiced the fundamental rights and freedoms or legitimate interests of the subscriber.

    Neither the companies nor Eircom, as owners or assignees of valuable copyright, were in any way interested in prosecuting downloaders for criminal offences under copyright laws, he said. Noting in the protocol agreed would ever involve the disposal of criminal proceedings or any court sentence.

    In all the circumstances, the graduated response process which could result in a subscriber being cut off was lawful and the sides could lawfully proceed to implement their settlement.

  2. alternate poet profile image66
    alternate poetposted 8 years ago

    This is an attack  on the freedom of speech, as in the freedom to communicate. This is such a stupid piece of 'judgery' because the laws of copyright are so bad in the first place.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)