Piracy? Don’t say we didn’t warn you. Twice!

Irish internet provider Eircom has agreed to implement a “three strikes” notice and disconnect regime in settling a case brought against it in the High Court in Ireland by the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA). 

Under the settlement agreement, Eircom has agreed:
1) to inform a subscriber that their IP address has been detected infringing copyright when Eircom receivies a complaint from the record companies;
2) to warn the respective subscriber that he (she) will be disconnected unless the infringement ceases and
3) in case of non-compliance by the warned subscriber, to disconnect their service.

In the Court proceeding, the record companies had sought orders requiring Eircom to install filtering software that would detect transmission of their music files on Eircom’s network.  Under the settlement agreement, Eircom does not have to do this, nor does it have to provide details of its subscribers to the music industry.

In a number of other countries around the world, ISPs are under pressure to implement a similar “three strikes” notice and disconnect regime. 

It appears the situation in Australia will depend on the outcome of the current Federal Court proceedings brought by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) and ISP iiNet.  Other ISPs would be unlikely to agree to voluntarily adopt a “three strikes” regime while the claim that iiNet has authorised copyright infringement remains undecided.

In the UK, the minister responsible for IP, David Lammy, has apparently ruled out the introduction of a “three strikes” notice and disconnect law.

In New Zealand, there has been controversy surrounding proposed amendments to the Copyright Act, which would requires that ISPs adopt and reasonably implement a policy providing for a “three strikes” regime.  The New Zealand Telecommunications Carriers Forum (“TCF“) prepared a draft code which signatories might adopt in complying with their obligations under the proposed legislation.  A copy of the draft code, and the submissions received by the TCF are available on the TCF website. The New Zealand Government subsequently decided not to proceed with the amendments as proposed, and will reconsider its position on the issue. 


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