Christmas Address Labels

December 20, 2011 by staff 

Christmas Address LabelsChristmas Address Labels, THE IRISH music industry got an early Christmas present with the news that the Government plans to issue a minsterial order that would allow copyright holders to compel internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to websites that they consider are engaged in piracy.

It’s something that the industry has been looking for since a case forcing cable operator UPC to impose certain anti-piracy measures failed in the High Court last year. Mr Justice Peter Charleton highlighted loopholes in Irish legislation that prevented him from granting an injunction. After much lobbying, and even a threat of legal action from EMI and industry body Irma, the major labels are hoping that the statutory instrument will address all their demands.

But events have moved on since the UPC case. It’s now reported that the Data Protection Commissioner has found that Eircom’s implementation of a three strikes policy, where users the music industry accusses of sharing copyrighted material risk losing their broadband connection, is in breach of data privacy legislation.

Separately, a recent European Court of Justice ruling, while ostensibly about filtering, or monitoring networks for the sharing of copyrighted material, found that ISPs can be forced to block access to certain websites that infringe copyright.

It’s hard not to have sympathy with the record labels, which have found that new technologies are eroding their business models and allowing people to easily share their products for free. The same issue is hitting movie studios, newspapers and software companies to name but a few.

The labels point to the massive drop in sales of CDs in Ireland; from €146 million in 2006 to €56 millon last year. More measured critics accuse them of seeking remedies that are disproportionate to the activities that they are trying to discourage. Others would say they have simply failed to adapt to the new economy. Wherever you fall on the argument, there is little doubt the issue will end up in either the Irish or European courts in 2012, or both.

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