Court backs 'three strikes' rule on illegal downloads
THE Supreme Court has backed a "three strikes and you're out" rule aimed at combating illegal downloading of music and other material from the internet.
The court yesterday upheld a challenge by four music companies to a notice of the Data Protection Commissioner, which they feared would effectively unwind that agreement with Eircom.
The companies challenged the commissioner's enforcement notice of December 5, 2011, directing Eircom to stop implementing the three strikes protocol whereby users are warned three times to desist from illegal downloading before their service is terminated.
The commissioner argued the protocol breached data protection and privacy laws. However, the companies argued this amounted to an unlawful and irrational attempt to re-open data protection issues already determined in their favour by the High Court.
In a High Court judgment of June 2012, Mr Justice Peter Charleton ruled as invalid the enforcement notice due to its failure to include any reasons specifying what provisions of the Data Protection Acts had been contravened by the protocol.
The Supreme Court yesterday unanimously dismissed an appeal by the data commissioner against the High Court decision.