Companies seek ruling on musical downloads
ANY invasion of the privacy of people who illegally download music over the internet is outweighed by evidence of their wrongdoing through copyright infringement, the High Court heard yesterday.
The argument was made by senior counsel Michael McDowell, on behalf of a number of record companies.
They have asked the court to decide on data-protection issues over the revealing of the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses of those involved in music piracy, which is causing losses to the music industry estimated at up to €14m a year.
The case arises out of a settlement last year of a case brought by EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner, when Eircom agreed to implement measures which involved disclosing the uploaders' and downloaders' identities through their IP addresses.
However, when both parties contacted the Data Protection Commissioner about how this would be done, the commissioner said the Data Protection Act was an obstacle to the measures, given that it involved the release of personal information.
As a result, the matter came back to the High Court and yesterday, Mr Justice Peter Charleton, who heard the original case, was asked to make declarations to clarify the data protection issue.
The judge said he hoped to give his decision next week.