Judge Favors Irish ISP’s Agreement with Record Labels

Four music companies (EMI Records, Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music – all Ireland-based) claimed a victory over the Irish ISP Eircom after a judge decided to reject a notice issued by the Data Protection Commissioner.

The music industry challenged DPC’s notice, which was filed on 5th December 2011, and eventually won this battle. According to the established agreement between the companies and Eircom, a “three-strikes” system is to be enforced on the provider’s subscribers.

If one fails to comply after three warning letters, his or hers internet account is suspended for one week. After four strikes, the user risks losing his internet access permanently.

DPC claimed that the notice’s goal was to stop data protection and privacy laws breaches. On the other hand, the companies said that the notice would meddle with their agreement.

The judge considered that the notice was invalid as it brought no further reasons for it to be applied. The reasons also “involved a misconstruction of the relevant law,” the judge claimed.

Furthermore, the notice was seen as an excess of power and irrationality, the companies said in the proceedings. The High Court agreed with them by saying that the notice was unlawful. The Commissioner denied the claims.

The notice was filed after the Commissioner followed on a complaint from an Eircom subscriber who received a notification.

According to the settlement, the companies were to give Eircom IP addresses of users suspected of illegal downloading.

The Commissioner pointed that the European Court of Justice has already ruled that the protocol was unlawful under European laws.