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Large Irish ISP To Enact "Three Strikes" Rule For Copyright Violation 288

Posted by timothy
from the very-very-naughty dept.
Squeeonline writes "One of the biggest broadband providers in Ireland will make the country the first in the world (according to the broadsheet newspaper the Irish Times) to introduce the 'three strikes' rule. 'Eircom will from today begin a process that will lead to cutting off the broadband service of customers found to be repeatedly sharing music online illegally. Ireland is the first country in the world where a system of graduated response is being put in place. Under the pilot scheme, Eircom customers who illegally share copyrighted music will get three warnings before having their broadband service cut off for a year.' ... The mechanism by which it operates was challenged in the courts by the Data Protection Commissioner. Apparently, IP addresses do not constitute 'personal information.' Personally, I use filesharing all the time, but I use it to download large open source Linux ISOs. How will Eircom legally differentiate between that content, and the content that some ragamuffin may be downloading illegally, without infringing privacy laws?"
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Large Irish ISP To Enact "Three Strikes" Rule For Copyright Violation

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  • Rather than analyzing the content of user traffic.
  • by Kitkoan (1719118) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @09:54PM (#32319082)
    Welcome to guilty by association.
    • Ass Monkies (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Das Auge (597142) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @10:31PM (#32319294)
      What the hell is this? A country race to see who can be the biggest corporate ass monkey the fastest?
      • Re:Ass Monkies (Score:4, Insightful)

        by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Sunday May 23, 2010 @11:04PM (#32319478) Homepage Journal

        A country race to see who can be the biggest corporate ass monkey the fastest?

        Well, at least they're only talking about cutting off broadband access.

        One wonders if the RIAA started by asking for the death penalty and was then negotiated down to the digital banishment.

        If the Irish ask real nice, maybe some of us who live in the rapidly shrinking number of countries where the entertainment industry hasn't completely seized sovereignty can send them the files they want via burned CD-ROMs.

        I hope, from my heart, that the entertainment industry is forced out of business. I have no worries that there will no longer be music or movies in the world. We forget that there was music (and movies!) before there was a massive industry to get rich off them.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by westlake (615356)

          We forget that there was music (and movies!) before there was a massive industry to get rich off them.

          The box office for a Chaplin short in 1915 was $100,000.

          Roughly $2 million, adjusted for inflation.

          During 1915, the Charlie Chaplin craze stormed the United States. Essanay vigorously promoted Chaplin's image, creating merchandise from photocards to books to toys, sheet music, fan cards,. All authorized merchandise stamped with Essanay name, and where possible the studios Indian-head logo. Star paraphernal

        • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday May 24, 2010 @06:00AM (#32321278)

          A country race to see who can be the biggest corporate ass monkey the fastest?

          Well, at least they're only talking about cutting off broadband access.

          You haven't heard the breaking news then. The RIAA have just hired Lorena Bobbitt [wikipedia.org] as an enforcement strategy adviser.

    • Easily (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 23, 2010 @10:34PM (#32319308)

      How will Eircom legally differentiate between that content, and the content that some ragamuffin may be downloading illegally, without infringing privacy laws?

      They won't.

      Guilt by association nails it on the head. I have friends who have been flagged by their ISPs because they downloaded large files with vaguely copyright infringing names like "warcraft collection" (a bunch of World of Warcraft add-ons) and "final doom" (a huge 3D digital scene depicting a random battle with one side on the verge of being totally wiped out)

  • Not quite (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 23, 2010 @09:57PM (#32319094)

    found to be repeatedly sharing music online illegally

    This simply isn't true.

    What they will be doing is cutting off service to people who they are told, by a third party firm, are sharing copyrighted music. There is no decision of legality here because a court is not involved. Were they cutting off people who had been found, by a court of law, to have shared their music in violation of Irish copyright law, then you could use the word 'illegally'.

    Journalism is hard though. If it was easy everybody would do it.

    • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @10:09PM (#32319178)

      ...will get three warnings before having their broadband service cut off...

      So that's four strikes, then.

      • Re:Not quite (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tsm_sf (545316) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @10:36PM (#32319316) Journal
        It's nice to see that, instead of logic, we're basing our laws on sports metaphors. This jibes nicely with the level of intellect I assume lawmakers possess.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Cryacin (657549)
          Well the law has been strongly molded for juries.
          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by Spad (470073)

            Which makes perfect sense in Europe, which is world renowned for its love of Baseball...

      • Re:Not quite (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @11:00PM (#32319434)

        No, it's three strikes and then you can go to court and try to prove you're not guilty.

      • ...will get three warnings before having their broadband service cut off...

        So that's four strikes, then.

        To be sure, to be sure, to be sure, to be sure.

    • >What they will be doing is cutting off service to people who they are told, by a third party firm, are sharing copyrighted music.

      Well all music is copyrighted including CC licensed music. I have 10 GIGS of CC only music on my computer, are they gonna go after someone who is sharing CC copyrighted music?

      • Re:Not quite (Score:5, Informative)

        by Grumbleduke (789126) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @11:37PM (#32319690) Journal

        Well all music is copyrighted...

        No, it isn't.
        We don't (yet) have indefinite copyright anywhere. In Ireland (as in the UK), the copyright on sound recordings (so MP3s and whatnot) expires 50 years after the recording was made [irishstatutebook.ie]. Obviously, this means works recorded in the 60s will be dropping out of copyright soon. That will include the early works of some rather big names including the Beatles. It is no wonder that the lobbyists are hard at work extending it - screw investing in new bands, mustn't let the stuff they've already bought (and don't have to pay the artists for) become available for free.

        Personally, I have quite a bit of music I have downloaded that is not copyrighted.

      • Well all music is copyrighted

        Is or was under copyright. But this is often irrelevant. I have several GiB of copyrighted music downloaded for free with the permission of the artists. No restrictions were placed on use of these tracks, so they would probably be free to share also. FWIW, it is several years of the artists' sample/promotional tracks from http://www.sxsw.com/ [sxsw.com], and if you search you can probably find torrents with all of them.

        An interesting question is whether - should one of these bands be signed by a major - they could r

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      What they will be doing is cutting off service to people who they are told, by a third party firm, are sharing copyrighted music

      Which is their right - the ISP has the right as a company to decide who they do and don't provide service to, so long as that is on a non-discriminatory (race, religion, age, gender, etc) basis.

      Where they'll fall down is if they cut off contracted customers then insist that said customer continues to pay the contracted rate. They will fall down because the recording industry has been repeatedly shown to use unreliable evidence, and even to fabricate evidence when they are losing. It has also been shown that

      • Re:Not quite (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @11:02PM (#32319458)

        What's the laws for contracts in Ireland? In my country this would constitute a "considerable change of contract" and allow me to cancel immediately, no matter how much longer I am tied to that ISP.

        If Ireland has similar laws, I could forsee that EIRCOM will soon be known as "formerly one of the biggest ISP".

        • That is a critical point.

          I'm not sure how it would be handled in the US. The contracts (for residential service) I signed for each of the 3 high speed ISPs I have used over the past several years were for monthly service. If my current ISP were to decide I violated a term of the contract, the most I would be out is 1 month's service fee. Not worth my time to pursue in court - even if I was guaranteed to win.

          As for long term contracts - in other contexts - it is typical to include a clause that the customer

        • by Stormie (708)

          In my country this would constitute a "considerable change of contract"..

          I guarantee you that the current contract contains some nebulous terms stating that they may cancel your connection based on unspecified abuse of the network, which this new rule would fit nicely into.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Shadow_139 (707786)
          The are also the ONLY company that you have get a physical PSTN line if you want ADSL from ANYBODY. This is because they own the last-mile of copper to everyone's house. This was a state run company under a few years ago.
      • Re:Not quite (Score:5, Insightful)

        by EdIII (1114411) on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:17AM (#32319880)

        Which is their right - the ISP has the right as a company to decide who they do and don't provide service to, so long as that is on a non-discriminatory (race, religion, age, gender, etc) basis.

        It's Ireland, so I don't know how much competition there is in that country, their feelings on monopolies, and whether or not the Internet constitutes a service that a citizen could live without.

        Speaking as an American, I can say I strongly disagree with you in strongest possible terms.

        The telecom companies in the US have enjoyed enormous advantages and generous allowances by the government to use public land ostensibly because at some point the citizenry was going to reap the benefits.

        This has not happened.

        What we have is a wholly corrupt system with the barest possible level of competition, and in some cases, no competition at all. Which is why Net Neutrality so god damned important to keep them from destroying the Internet as it exists now.

        Additionally, for many people the Internet has become as indispensable as water, gas, and electricity. I'm not talking about the need to post some banality on Facebook here, but important day to day errands that are increasingly becoming conducted on the Internet. Telecommuting, accessing public information, banking, voip, etc. So many of the services I receive on a day to day basis are entirely Internet based. Jeez, in some cases I even order Pizza on the Internet. In fact, last couple of times I needed something fixed on my house I issued a trouble ticket through a website for my home insurance.

        If I am going to be denied access to the Internet, which could effectively cut me off entirely, I damn well fucking deserve my rights to due process. If your a utility company, which most ISPs essentially are at this point, then you get less rights than a normal corporation and that only makes sense.

         

    • by carlzum (832868)
      Good point. I wonder how well they'll review the credibility of each "strike"? Expect a flood of copyright notices if they're taken at face value.
      • Beyond checking some log that a file matching the specified name and size was transferred at the specified time by the specified IP address, I doubt the ISPs have the ability to do anything other than take the notices at face value.

        I do find it interesting that ISPs have, so far, resisted banning P2P usage. One possible outcome of this is that ISPs will decide that banning p2p is easier than dealing with the floods of notices and complaints.

    • by FSWKU (551325)

      Journalism is hard though. If it was easy everybody would do it.

      Judging by the number of self-important blogs out there, everyone TRIES to do it anyway. Proof that both the best and worst aspects of the Internet are that everyone has access.

  • Differentiation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @09:58PM (#32319110)

    Personally, I use filesharing all the time, but I use it to download large open source Linux ISOs. How will Eircom legally differentiate between that content, and the content that some ragamuffin may be downloading illegally, without infringing privacy laws?

    Well, since the article talks about searching for people who are sharing (not just downloading) specific works over P2P networks where the copyright is known to be held by the record companies, presumably they are only planning to go after those they've caught in the act.

    I'm not a fan of either "three strikes" laws that impose penalties without a proper court hearing or going after people based on an IP address alone, but as the recent round of proposals have gone, this one seems to be about as reasonable as you're going to get in who it claims to be targetting.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Arker (91948)

      Based on what we've seen so far from the Muzak Maffia, they'll most likely just scan for filenames.

      I foresee hundreds of well-seeded linux ISOs with filenames remarkably similar to whatever is top of the charts on the week of release...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      I'm not a fan of either "three strikes" laws that impose penalties without a proper court hearing or going after people based on an IP address alone, but as the recent round of proposals have gone, this one seems to be about as reasonable as you're going to get in who it claims to be targetting.

      Consider this hypothetical: Sony starts up an ISP in Ireland. They decide to have a "three strikes" rule, where anyone caught sharing Sony music gets banned. Now, along comes Columbia Records. They notice that du

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by houghi (78078)

      I should only be guilty if the legal system in my country says so. And even then it should be that legal system says what my punishment is. If I would be a repeatable offender, cutting me off might be a possible punishment.

      A private company should NOT been able to tell if I am guilty of whatever to another company and then have the other company act on it. I do not care if they have videotape of me admitting me downloading 10 gazillion songs AND showing them on that tape how I do it AND give them a written

  • They could always kneecap you with a Black and Decker.

  • exetel in australia (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 23, 2010 @10:03PM (#32319136)

    exetel in australia had 3 strikes rule at least 2 years ago. I got blocked twice each time you have to make up an excuse for it. i.e. wireless is not secure.

    however after iinet's court case they have removed their 3 strike system

  • by KahabutDieDrake (1515139) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @10:04PM (#32319140)
    In Ireland. So a bit of censorship and or corporate protectionism (depending on how far you lean) isn't a big surprise. I am a bit shocked that anyone is upset by this. I'm as big a sharer as the next guy (god damn it people SEED!!!) but if that 'sharing' is in violation of local law, the idea isn't to do it surreptitious, it's to change the local laws. As long as our activity is technically illegal, it's going to be policed. The more money involved the better the policing is going to be. There is a LOT of money in music.

    Ireland will be a test bed, and if it goes even remotely well, this program will expand to most of the EU and north america. I'm not sure how enthusiastic the ISPs will be about cutting off customers, however, I am sure that they will ham it up to get the highest possible "operational costs" from the RIAA and their ilk, to cover expenses, of course.

    I am also not sure why anyone would think their unencrypted data isn't already being inspected. That's just naive. There doesn't need to be a good reason, there just needs to be a WAY, and we all know there is. So it's just a little bit foolish to think that your OPEN traffic isn't already being scanned at the very least by a machine, and probably occasionally by a human if the machine flags enough activity as "bad". Is it against the law for the ISP to scan the traffic? Depends where you live, and how you define scan. In the US, the ISP can pretty much snoop as they please under the guise of Network Operations monitoring. They would be sued if they released private info, or if they used it in public against the customer, but turning it over to law enforcement (or a corporation pretending to be a law enforcement agency), isn't likely to get them in all that much hot water, legally speaking. They have already been doing it for years, and I can't imagine why they would stop. It's not like there is an ISP you can use that doesn't traverse ATT/Comcast, and or would vow to protect your plain text communications in the first place.
    • by Grumbleduke (789126) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @11:24PM (#32319604) Journal

      Also, Ireland even has a shiny, new blasphemy law [wikipedia.org]. But anyway;

      There isn't actually a lot of money in music. People think there is, (and the large record labels would like to believe it) but there isn't. In 2009, according to the BPI's figures [bpi.co.uk], the entire UK recorded music industry revenue was less than GBP1bn. That's for all their recorded music (CD sales, music videos, legal downloads, ad- and subscription-based services, the whole lot) for an entire year. A top film will make nearly that much [wikipedia.org]. EMI (the UK's one, failing contribution to the "big four" - and the smallest one) made more than that in 2009 (actually, it even announced pre-tax losses of more than that; but that is more due to its screwed up investments and legal battles with its own musicians, or former musicians).

      While $1bn may sound like a lot to you or me, on a corporate level, it is hardly anything - there really isn't that much money in actually selling recorded music to normal people. Normal people don't have that much money.

      Moving on; yes, this will be an interesting case and will likely be hailed as a success and great progress tomorrow by the IFPI and all their little friends; in fact, it will probably be used to support their efforts in forcing through something similar under the UK's Digital Economy Act [wikipedia.org]. These measures will not work for two reasons. Firstly, they won't stop file-sharing without causing a huge fuss (and likely leading to an even greater backlash against the lobbyists). There will always be loop-holes, there will always be unlicensed file-sharing while it still more convenient. Secondly, even if people stop sharing, they won't naturally move to paying for stuff (and they certainly won't be downloading from iTunes or using Spotify if their Internet has been cut off for a year).

      The only people who will win here are the lobbyists (who can get nice big bonuses for getting their laws passed) and the lawyers who will be spending the next 10-15 years trying to untangle the mess it creates in the local, national and European courts. Stopping piracy through legislation and litigation isn't going to work, nor has it ever worked.

      Incidentally, I am doing something to stop things like this; I am a member of my local Pirate Party [pirateparty.org.uk] and will be meeting with Ofcom [ofcom.org.uk] (the UK's communication regulator who has been tasked with drafting - or just using the BPI's draft of - our n-strikes law) to explain to them why they will be unable to carry out the requirements made of them.

      What are you doing to stop this sort of thing?

  • be irie (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JackSpratts (660957) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @10:05PM (#32319154) Homepage
    and while they're at it they should ban people from sidewalks when they make their own copies of florsheims.
  • I'd take this over a demand for money any day. as long as i can just change ISP's when i'm banned i'd be ok with this if i was actually sharing copyrighted material. if i was falsly accused i'd be fuming, and there in lies the problem with this approach. they need to be 100% sure a violation is occuring with each warning, and i'm betting they'll fuck it up.
    • It's only 1 ISP, so you could just switch now and avoid the hassle, if Ireland has multiple options in those areas.
      • by bfree (113420) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @11:45PM (#32319736)
        The important thing to note is that this 1 ISP is the former government monopoly who still runs the last mile of copper upon which nearly all DSL in the country depends. I wonder if they will include the customers of their wholesale DSL customers who to many provide the only opportunity to escape from the clutches of Eircom? The only meaningful competition to them is UPC, mentioned in the article, who run the largest cable tv network in the country.
    • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @11:09PM (#32319512)

      There's no snowball-in-hell chance that they will NOT fuck it up. To be 100% certain that copyrighted material is being shared, they would have to actually download something from a certain IP and tell the ISP that this IP was infringing. If they have that, why not sue? So what will they do? Either compare hashes or even just go for filenames. Now, could anyone see a reason why a file other than a certain movie could be called "300.avi"?

      It's pretty much certain that they will blunder somewhere. The only question now is whether they get away with it.

  • by giorgist (1208992) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @10:15PM (#32319214)
    if every song comes out on youtube
    and I can download it as an MP3
    Am I pirating music if I can simply get it that way ?
    • No. You aren't distributing the work to anyone else, are you?
    • by mariushm (1022195)

      You're over complicating things.

      If I hear a song on the radio and i record it am i pirating it ?
      If i watch vh1 or mtv and i'm recording the show am i pirating it ?

      (we don't even have to get into drm - get a digital camera and record the screen of your tv - you're recording the unique rendition of a television channel performed by your tv )

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417)

        Huh? You can still record from TV? :)

        Seriously. No, you're not pirating. The station paid for the right to broadcast that song, and part of the fair use deal is (ok, was) that it's accepted that people will possibly record this broadcast for their personal use. In some countries, they used this to push a "tape fee" (or in the meantime, CDR/DVD-R fee) where you pay a certain amount per blank DVD to the music industry so this "kinda-sorta-infringment" is covered.

        Which has become a very weak joke now that you

  • Good luck with that (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rubies (962985) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @10:31PM (#32319296)

    Who is paying the bills at the ISP? The copyright holders or the guys using the bandwidth? And will the copyright holders offer to make up the shortfall after the ISP ditches all it's best customers?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      And will the copyright holders offer to make up the shortfall after the ISP ditches all it's best customers?

      "Best Customers" being Grandmas who pay fifty American dollars a month just to check e-mail.

    • by westlake (615356)

      And will the copyright holders offer to make up the shortfall after the ISP ditches all it's best customers?

      The ISP's best customers are those who make the least demands on the service. The customers who are paying for media content provided by the ISP or its owners and partners.

      Not those whose P2P traffic maxes out the bandwidth available over their shared Internet connection - for which they are paying the mass market price.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by timmarhy (659436)
        demand for P2P is a huge driver for bringing customers onboard though. since you've been able to pirate music and movies demand for internet services has soared. i'd argue that downloading content is an ISP's best friend.

        people that just do a bit of web surfing and email checking are always the ones on the scabby $24.95/mo plans that hardly make the ISP anything, it's the medium downloaders who get a few gigs off limewire and are on the $79 plan that makes isp's cash - typically the have more quota then th

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by rubies (962985)

          Exactly. Plus the tech user / big downloader never rings the help line, while gramma is on there every second day. For an ISP, the best customers are the ones you never have to help.

    • by Opportunist (166417) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @11:14PM (#32319540)

      The best customer is my dad. He uses about 10MB a month to check his email and maybe, once in a blue moon, open a webpage. And if for some reason the 'net breaks down, he shrugs and tries again tomorrow. That's the best customer an ISP could wish for.

      The high bandwidth using filesharer that goes ballistic on their support line agents when the net breaks for 5 minutes is about the worst customer they could imagine.

  • lol (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @10:34PM (#32319310)
    I actually work copyright complaints for an ISP and have an intimate understanding of how this all works. If someone REALLY wanted to highlight the flaws in this process the simple solution would be to get IP addresses of influential members of the government and/or the ISPs and start sending bogus emails to the copyright/abuse/legal mailboxes of the ISP. They'd start cutting off service automatically to all the right people. The uproar would be both hilarious and effective. Trust me, it would work very quickly as the ISP has absolutely no way of verifying the emails. Get the internet cut off to most government buildings and they might start to rethink this policy.
    • So... What is the dead drop you are sending the IP to address DB table to?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Charliemopps (1157495)
        ha! You obviously don't get how broadband works. If only there were such a thing. What I'd recommend is not going after their residential accounts, it would be to go after their work accounts. They are probably public ranges. Ping them, see if you get a response, if you do, send a letter. It's not fool proof, they might not be returning ping requests for example, but if you start thinking along those lines you could probably come up with something. At the very least you could bury their employees in emails.
        • by Ash-Fox (726320)

          ha! You obviously don't get how broadband works.

          They are probably public ranges. Ping them, see if you get a response, if you do, send a letter.

          *face palm [photobucket.com]*

    • As far as I know to send a copyright abuse notice you need to provide your full name, address etc and the details of the copyrighted work and some evidence. You can't just anonymously send an email and that's it. I guess you could fake all that but it would be a bit more elaborate than you make it sound
      • by pipedwho (1174327)

        Filling plausible data into a boilerplate email is the easy part. If the ISP was logging all inbound and outbound port connections, then you'd have a harder time, because you'd need to match the ISP's logs with your data.

        Keep in mind that email headers contain a lot of information regarding the IP address, the time that the user was online sending their email, the ISP domain information, etc. It's not much of a step to send out a fake notice with details that were completely plausible.

        A diligent ISP would t

      • Re:lol (Score:4, Insightful)

        by KahabutDieDrake (1515139) on Monday May 24, 2010 @03:05AM (#32320592)
        I've actually used DMCA notices against a user on Photobucket. I got a blank DMCA notice form, filled it in accurately, and claimed copywrite on an image that this user had posted. They never even questioned it. They black holed the image on the first one. They black holed the account on when he reposted, and I re-submitted. The guy gave up.

        Point of the story, most of these companies aren't going to question ANYTHING on an even remotely legit looking DMCA notice. The relevant equivalent in any given country is likely to be treated more or less the same. The company doesn't want the responsibility for "checking" these notices out. So they don't even try.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Charliemopps (1157495)
        All you need is a copy of one of the form letters. Change the IP address on the letter. Done. You have to remember these complaints take up huge amounts of resources for the ISP and are not profitable at all. Even if they only have 1 employee on staff working them, think about how much that 1 employee costs them and they are generating no revenue at all. If you made it so they had to have 5 people working on this alone? 10 people? The more bogus complaints they get the more customers will start calling in s
    • by iJusten (1198359)
      Few years back, when cutting pirates from the 'net became legal in Finland, one of the first cuts were against the autonomical government of Åland. The newspapers questioned widely if the next target would be hospitals. And that was the last I've heard of THAT business in Finland.

      We can hope something similar happens at Eire.
  • by qirtaiba (582509) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @11:07PM (#32319492) Homepage

    If only it were true that this makes Ireland "the first in the world". In fact there are already three-strikes laws in France, South Korea, New Zealand, Taiwan, and (though not yet fully implemented) the United Kingdom. In a sense Ireland doesn't even rate a mention against these countries, because its "three strikes" system is not law, but just the policy of a single (admittedly large) ISP.

    France's law is the first and most draconian. In its original form, which did not require a court judgment before the user was disconnected it failed a constitutional challenge, but it has since been re-introduced and remains on the books.

    A favourite quote of mine comes from the judgment of an Australian Federal Court judge in a case decided earlier this year, in which he said:

    One need only consider the lengthy, complex and necessary deliberations of the Court upon the question of primary infringement to appreciate that the nature of copyright infringements within the BitTorrent system, and the concept of “repeat infringer”, are not self-evident. It is highly problematic to conclude that such issues ought to be decided by a party, such as the [ISP], rather than a court. Copyright infringement is not a simple issue.

  • Trolling Potential (Score:3, Insightful)

    by consumer_whore (652448) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @11:16PM (#32319558)
    DMCA takedown notices are constantly abused through youtube. Anyone think trolls will be in full effect with this?
  • Even free stuff is usually under some sort of copyright. Of course to people like the RIAA and MPAA there is no such thing as free content. I expect if you are using bit torrent then you are automatically considered guilty.
  • "How will Eircom legally differentiate between that content, and the content that some ragamuffin may be downloading illegally, without infringing privacy laws?"

    In all sincerity, did you ask them?

    I'd start here.

    http://eircomconnect.eircom.net/Forum/default.aspx [eircom.net]

    • * Boards: 8 * Threads: 161 * Posts: 2542

      Doesn't seem like an active forum at all.

      Not to mention most corporate forums enjoy closing down and pretending anything negative they do doesn't exist or you get the helpful employee who is powerless to do anything due to the internal bureaucracy.

      Plus, "large ISP" usually means they have some sort of monopoly and screw customers at will (like Comcast in the US)
  • I think other ISPs who doesn't support the action of this ISP should stop peering with this ISP to show that this type of behavior is not acceptable.
  • by Kargan (250092) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @11:37PM (#32319688) Homepage
    I work for a tech support firm in the US, supporting a number of different ISPs, and at least a handful of them actively enforce a "three strikes" rule, once they are notified by media watchdog companies that a certain IP address that's assigned to them is guilty of copyright infringement. It goes first strike - cut off service till you contact the main office and sign a document to indicate that you've removed the copyrighted material from your pc. Second strike - same deal, except you lose your service for 3-7 days. Third strike, they cancel your service permanently. I'm kinda surprised this story is making /.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      One question: how many times has each of them been sued by somebody who was falsely accused by a self-proclaimed "media watchdog" company?
      • by Kargan (250092)
        As far as I'm aware, zero.

        I've even talked to end-users myself who had no knowledge of file-sharing (i.e., they were elderly), and the telco treated them no differently.

        The user did, however, have an unsecured wireless router in place. I helped them secure it.
  • by karl.auerbach (157250) on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:22AM (#32319912) Homepage

    Suppose a corporation - let's call it "Google" - makes more than 3 improper copies. Would it lose its access to the internet in Ireland?

    • Google has paid more out in copyright settlements than you will ever earn in your entire life. You can't really hit them with this because they don't really have an ISP, they have their own peering agreements, but don't worry, corporations have trouble with copyright too. And if it's a company with money, the RIAA will be sure to swoop in and sue. They favor whichever method they perceive will give them the most money.
  • This will probably get broken in implementation so bad that public outcry will cause the legislature to regulate the practice.

    I had Verizon turn my service off once. I called complaining that it wasn't working and they sent me to a website describing complaints of illegally sharing movies. (yea, no internet access and they send me to a web site). I checked it on my laptop at another location then I pointed out that all three complaints were within 5 seconds of each other, the IP address listed was not the I

  • Start your own ISP and tell those morons to go to hell !

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cpghost (719344)
      As an ISP, you have upstream providers (if you're small), and peers (if you're big). Both can disconnect you for whatever reason if they feel like it.
  • by Budenny (888916) on Monday May 24, 2010 @03:51AM (#32320798)

    We appear to have, as always in these matters, sanction on accusation. The subject is accused three times of having broken a law. The fourth time he is found to have done this (not by a court, but by a supplier of goods and services) his Internet connection is cut off for a week. Another time, and he is disconnected for a year.

    At no point in this process do the courts intervene, and you will notice that the penalty is different from normal criminal sanctions, in that it is not either fine, community service, or imprisonment. There are some exceptions, some kinds of driving offences are punishable by withdrawal of permission to drive. But its rather rare, and the characteristic appears to be where there is a danger to the public, and where the sanction is directly related to the offense. We do not, for instance, ban someone from driving because he engaged in false accounting, or because he breached copyright. He drove while intoxicated, and we banned him from driving.

    The problem with the disconnection penalty, apart from the fact that it is punishment on accusation, is that it is not an appropriate punishment for the crime. I have no truck with copyright breaches. They should be prosecuted before a court, and on conviction there should be punishments of the usual sorts, fines, community service, perhaps even jail terms in serious cases. But it makes no more sense to disconnect someone's house from the Internet than it does to ban him from driving in a case of false accounting. Or to ban him from shopping for food, because he has sold counterfeit goods in the local street market. Or to disconnect his phone. Or ban him from visiting public libraries, or using the bus service.

    We need two things to deal with this matter in a way that has regard to civil liberties. One is that all punishment shall occur only when an offense is proven in court, and shall only be imposed by a court, not by a service provider. The second is that the punishment shall make sense in the scale of other offenses. Neither is true of the 'three strikes' proposals. The fact is, this breach of the law is no different from any other breach, and needs to be handled in exactly the same way as all others.

The meat is rotten, but the booze is holding out. Computer translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

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