Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Music Industry Loses a Big Case

The music industry (which amounts to the major record labels) has long wanted your local ISP (Internet Service Provider) to bear the brunt of what amounted to their failings. For instance, the industry wants the ISPs to do their enforcing by cutting off the service of any subscriber involved in the industry's definition of piracy. They also want the ISPs to collect a tax on every subscriber to pay for their estimated loses to piracy, a practice that the services continue to resist.

Now comes word that a giant Irish ISP called UPC has won a landmark legal case against all four major music labels that may be a precedent for similar action here in the US. Warner Music, Universal Music, Sony BMG and EMI Records wanted to force UPC to implement a "three strikes" (the third time your caught you're cut off) system to combat copyright-infringing, music file-sharing Internet users subscribed to the ISP.

The Irish High Court has ruled that the laws that forced the ISPs to identify and cut off service to their customers were not enforceable in Ireland.

Although the court agreed that illegal downloading was bad for the record label's business and "ruins the ability of a generation of creative people in Ireland, and elsewhere, to establish a viable living,"any kind of forced enforcement by an ISP was not provided for in Irish law. The court ruling did leave some wiggle room for all involved though, but any changes must still come from a change in Irish law.

Although the labels have not been able to force a similar kind of enforcement in the US, RIAA lobbyists are furiously working behind the scenes to get new legislation passed. Luckily, there's a lot more pressing issues on congressional plates these days.

You can read more on the story here.

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