BT Ireland and UPC Ireland are being taken to court by the big four music labels Universal, Warner, Sony and EMI, over illegal downloads and file sharing.
The operators have been issued with a plenary summons by the four main record labels with a hearing for both scheduled on July 6th. The case stems from the out-of-court settlement agreed between IRMA, which represents the big four labels, and Eircom in January whereby Eircom agreed to implement a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy against illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) downloaders. Eircom also agreed to work with data provided by the four labels to help them pinpoint and pursue illegal downloaders and uploaders.
The ruling set a precedent and it was expected that all other ISPs in the Irish market would be compelled to co-operate with the music industry. In recent months, ISPs have received legal letters from IRMA’s solicitors asking them to follow Eircom or face legal action.
UPC issued a statement over the weekend, saying it will not agree to “a request that goes beyond what is currently provided under existing legislation. There is no basis under Irish law requiring ISPs to control, access or block the internet content its users download."