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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Court rules for Eircom on illegal downloads

Tim Healy

EIRCOM has been given the green light to continue its "three strikes and you're out" policy for customers who download music illegally.

An order by the Data Protection Commissioner banning the policy was overturned in the Commercial Court yesterday.

Under the policy, agreed with four record companies, Eircom subscribers who download music illegally lose their internet access for a week after three copyright infringements.

A fourth breach will lead to them losing their internet access entirely.

Last December, the commissioner's office ordered Eircom to stop implementing this policy, saying it breached data protection and privacy laws.

This enforcement notice was later challenged by the four record companies: EMI Records (Ireland) Ltd, Sony Music Entertainment Ireland Ltd, Universal Music Ireland Ltd and Warner Music Ireland Ltd.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Peter Charleton quashed the enforcement notice after finding it was invalid.

He said the commissioner failed to give reasons why it had been issued.

Mr Justice Charleton said the commissioner had given no reasons whatsoever for its decision to issue the notice.

The judge noted privacy was central to the arguments made by the commissioner during the hearing of the case.

But it was not clear how privacy might come into the matter at all, the judge said.

He was of the view there are no privacy or data protection implications to detecting unauthorised downloads using "file sharing" technology.

Irish Independent

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