Irish ISP launches pilot program aimed at file sharers

Eircom is implementing the plan after settling with the music industry over copyright conerns

Irish ISP Eircom launched a three-month pilot program on Monday that will see those who repeatedly share files under copyright cut off from their Internet service.

Eircom is implementing the plan as the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) puts further pressure on other Irish ISPs to do the same by taking them to court.

Eircom was sued by the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) -- a trade association composed of such record labels as EMI, Sony, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group -- which sought to force the ISP to install traffic-monitoring equipment that would have examined the content of its subscribers in an attempt to clamp down on illegal file sharing.

Eircom, which has about 750,000 subscribers, resisted but reached an out-of-court settlement in January 2009 with IRMA. Eircom agreed to put in place a so-called three-strikes plan, where those illegal sharing files under copyright are warned and eventually have their access suspended or cut off.

The plan came under a court challenge over data protection issues. But in March, Ireland's High Court ruled that IP (Internet Protocol) addresses were not personal information that fell under data protection regulations, clearing the way for the pilot program.

Under the new scheme, Eircom will receive lists of the IP addresses of suspected file sharers from Dtecnet, a company that specializes in tracking files illegally distributed online, according to an Eircom spokesman. IRMA pays Dtecnet for their services.

Eircom said it will rely on Dtecnet and not use monitoring equipment itself on its network to enforce the program or monitor its customers' Internet browsing. The ISP also said it will not provide personal details on customers to third parties including record companies.

Although IP addresses can be used to identify a subscriber's computer, they do not identify the actual person who uses the machine. During the trial period, Eircom will receive about 50 IP addresses per week of subscribers suspected of sharing files under copyright. Eircom said it will call subscribers and send letters explaining illegal file sharing in order to educate them, the spokesman said.

Eircom says it ships its wireless routers with a default security setting that would prevent access to the network from someone other than the subscriber. Some people accused of file sharing have argued they had no security on their Wi-Fi router, which allowed others to abuse the connection and illegally download content under copyright.

Eircom will send subscribers sterner letters the second time around, and their Internet access will be suspended for a week on the third accusation. Internet access will be suspended for a year on the fourth notification, the spokesman said. About 80 percent of illegal file sharers stop their activity after being warned a second time, according to IRMA.

Some Irish ISPs are expected to implement similar programs, but others are resisting, said Dick Doyle, IRMA's director general.

Ireland's second-largest ISP, UPC, has "refused to play," Doyle said. IRMA is suing, and a High Court date is scheduled for June 17, Doyle said. Two other ISPs will be given notice of IRMA's intention to sue on Wednesday, he said.

IRMA was one of the first music industry trade groups to stop suing individuals for illegal file sharing because the process proved expensive and generated bad press, Doyle said. IRMA opted to work with service providers.

Eircom's inter-industry compromise comes as other countries have either implemented or are considering legislation to halt illegal file sharing.

The U.K. Parliament passed in April the Digital Economy Act, which compels ISPs to send out warning letters to subscribers suspected of breaching copyright and then eventually cut off access. Critics such as the Open Rights Group contend the act is flawed and was passed hastily before the national election and should be repealed.

France's National Assembly approved in September 2009 a law that criminalizes file sharing, with infringers facing a suspension of Internet access, a fine or prison.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags ISPfile sharingsoftware piracy

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?