Back in 2010 Eircom, the largest telecommunications operator in Ireland, in collaboration with various music labels, became Europe’s first ISP to introduce a ‘three strikes’ scheme (also known a graduated response scheme), whereby users would be first warned by phone, then have their internet connection suspended for week, and then have their internet disconnected if they persisted in copyright infringement offences.
The scheme however ran afoul of the Irelands Data Protection Commissioner, who stopped it on privacy grounds, and amid fears that innocent people could be targeted.
Unsurprisingly, it did not take long for the concerned record labels (Universal, EMI, Sony and Warner) to mount a legal challenge, which reached a conclusion on Wednesday this week when the High Court ruled against the commissioner’s enforcement notice, effectively giving Eircom the go-ahead for its three strike scheme.
A similar scheme has been in force in France since 2010 but has struggled to be effective, with some reports indicating a rise in piracy since the law was implemented. In May this year a government report recommended stopping cutting off internet access to repeat copyright offenders, and closing the agency tasked with policing these offences.