Feeds

ISP CAN cut off pirates with 'three strike' rule, says Irish beak

Arrgh! Me pipe's been slashed off, ye scurvy law-dogs

Top three mobile application threats

Four music record companies have won a court order in Ireland overturning a ban placed on an anti-piracy policy operated by the country's largest internet service provider (ISP).

In December last year Ireland's data protection watchdog had issued an enforcement notice banning Eircom from operating its 'three strikes' system. The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner in Ireland (ODPC) had expressed concern that Eircom's system of using IP addresses to identify alleged copyright infringers invades customers' privacy, according to media reports at the time.

However, the Commercial Court in Ireland has ruled that the order given by the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner in Ireland (ODPC) be overturned on the basis that it had been invalid, according to a report by the Irish Times.

The ODPC failed to give reasons in the notice why it had served in the first place, the judge determined. The judge also said that the apparent reasons relied upon by the ODPC for it serving the notice "involved a misconstruction of the relevant law," according to the Irish Times' report.

Eircom's 'three strikes' system warns customers suspected of illegal file-sharing that they face being cut off from the internet if they persist with the activity. The system, which Eircom agreed with EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner, had been approved by the Irish Government.

The ODPC would only tell Out-Law.com that it was "studying" the court's ruling. In 2010 Ireland's High Court ruled that Eircom was able to monitor for illegal file-sharing after determining that the practice did not breach data protection laws.

The ODPC had questioned whether or not the use of internet protocol (IP) address information and monitoring of users' activities broke privacy laws. The Court said though that Eircom's system was legal.

Software identifies copyright-infringing activity and finds out which IP address unauthorised material is being sent to. If that address relates to an Eircom account the ISP is obliged to write twice to the bill payer to inform them that copyright infringement has taken place and must stop. On a third occasion the internet access will be cut off for a week and permanently disabled following a fourth offence.

The Court said that this activity did not break data protection laws because the record labels and DetectNet did not discover and were not interested in subscribers' identities. The information being processed did not count as 'personal data', it said.

In December last year though the watchdog had said that it had "concluded" a six-month long investigation into Eircom's 'three strikes' system. The ODPC had launched its investigation after discovering that Eircom sent 'first strike' warning letters to 300 customers wrongly accusing them of illegal file-sharing. At the time Eircom put the wrongful identification of users down to a "software failure caused when the clocks went back last October".

Last year the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that although the protection of intellectual property is a fundamental right under EU law, it is not "absolutely protected" and has to be balanced against other fundamental rights. It ruled that a Belgian court had not struck a "fair balance" between the rights of a music royalties collecting society and those of an internet service provider (ISP) and its customers when ordering the ISP to filter online traffic in search of copyright infringement. Under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights individuals generally have a right to privacy and protection of personal data. The Charter also confers rights on free speech, the freedom to conduct business and states that intellectual property (IP) "shall be protected".

In the UK leading ISPs will be required to issue copyright infringement notices to their customers under new plans drawn up by Ofcom.

Copyright © 2012, Out-Law.com

Out-Law.com is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Lavabit loses contempt of court appeal over protecting Snowden, customers
Judges rule complaints about government power are too little, too late
Don't let no-hire pact suit witnesses call Steve Jobs a bullyboy, plead Apple and Google
'Irrelevant' character evidence should be excluded – lawyers
Record labels sue Pandora over vintage song royalties
Companies want payout on recordings made before 1972
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Edward Snowden on his Putin TV appearance: 'Why all the criticism?'
Denies Q&A cameo was meant to slam US, big-up Russia
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Judge halts spread of zombie Nortel patents to Texas in Google trial
Epic Rockstar patent war to be waged in California
US Supreme Court supremo rakes Aereo lawman in oral arguments
Antenna-array content streamers: 'Ruling against us could dissipate the cloud'
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
prev story

Whitepapers

Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.