3 September 2014

Music industry launches new High Court action against state

18:29, Adrian Weckler

The music industry has launched a new High Court action against the state, according to official legal documents filed yesterday.

The move will be seen as a bid to increase pressure on the government to change national copyright law.

The music companies involved - EMI, Sony, Universal, Warner and WEA - are believed to be unhappy about the government’s pace of law reform in relation to online music filesharing.

Last month, the government indicated that it would introduce new measures to allow music companies to file injunctions against internet service providers (ISPs) that granted access to filesharing websites.

However, the music industry remains frustrated by what it sees as a government dragging its heels on the issue.

The music business has suffered several legal blows over the last two years. In November, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that national courts could not impose injunctions on ISPs to install filtering software, a key component in the music industry’s battle against illegal filesharing.

In December, the Data Protection Commissioner ruled that elements of Eircom’s ‘Three Strikes’ system - that cuts off internet access to customers caught downloading free music - broke privacy rules.

The most recent Irish High Court decision, in 2009, ruled that Irish ISPs cannot legally be forced to cut off customers for copyright reasons.

“The power[s] to block access to internet sites, and to cut off internet access, are not available in Irish law,” said Mr Justice Peter Charleton in that case.

A spokesman for the Irish Recorded Music Artists association, which represents music companies in Ireland, was not immediately available to respond.

**Contact journalist: adrian@businesspost.ie. Contact desk: digital@businesspost.ie.**