Today a long standing legal battle between an Irish ISP called UPC and the music industry has resumed. In 2010 UPC won a high court case against the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) who wanted UPC to come into line with EIRCOM who have been implementing a strict three strikes and you’re out rule.
Although the system has been in place for over four years now, EIRCOM are quick to boast that it has not had to disconnect a single user, hailing the three strikes and you’re out program as a great success, and a reliable win for the music industry – an industry that suffers from a substantially high risk of piracy.
In 2010 UPC’s stance was one of being pro privacy and data protection for its users, but worryingly this time around UPC are more worried about the costs of implementing a gradual response program rather than the privacy issue itself.
In fact UPC have offered to co-operate fully with IRMA and their major affiliates Sony, Warner and Universal by handing over all evidence of piracy to the recording companies for investigation.
However as IRMA is bound by its agreement with EIRCOM to continue trying to force UPC to implement the same procedures, the battle seems set to continue. If UPC win again and money is an issue, perhaps EIRCOM will get brave and pull out of an agreement that must be costing them a certain amount to implement.
I would argue that UPC are right to fight this case to the end, and EIRCOM are silly to cooperate in the way they have. If major labels want to prosecute people for pirating their products that is more than fair, however UPC’s offer to hand over evidence is perfectly adequate because at the end of the day the ISP doesn’t stand to lose anything, and shouldn’t have to spend money policing an industry they have no share in.
The music industry makes revenue using the internet, so it should have to do its own dirty work. If it wishes to profit from the benefit of digital sales and an increased audience on the one hand, then it should have to deal with Piracy issues on the other. With the good comes the bad…