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

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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  • by Kitkoan ( 1719118 ) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @09:54PM (#32319082)
    Welcome to guilty by association.
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.
  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @10:19PM (#32319234) Journal

    Don't worry, they will get to Linux soon. Any distro that can play DVDs or decode MP3s or rip a CD or a DVD will be flagged as a problem and get added to the list of things you are not allowed to download.
    And I'm sure now that the MPIAA and friends have gotten their way there will be many other organizations lining up with their lobbying contributions to get their favorite vice added to the list as well.

    Did I read that Australia is banning pictures of adult women with A-cup sized breasts?
    If this ever gets passed here in the U.S.A. I'm sure it will be illegal to download evolution texts soon.

  • 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: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.
  • by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) * on Sunday May 23, 2010 @10:51PM (#32319386) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • 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".

  • Re:Ass Monkies (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) * on Sunday May 23, 2010 @11:04PM (#32319478) 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:Differentiation (Score:4, Insightful)

    by powerspike ( 729889 ) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @11:08PM (#32319500)
    Or... you could just send fake infringement notices on every ip address at the isp, they'll either stop doing it, or go out of business...
  • 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 Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @11:12PM (#32319528)

    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 can't really record anything anymore.

  • 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.

  • by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @11:15PM (#32319546)
    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 they need just incase. these are the demographic that make up most of their customers. sure there's always a small subset that will download 100 gigs a month, but they are in the minority.

  • 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?
  • by rubies ( 962985 ) on Sunday May 23, 2010 @11:19PM (#32319578)

    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.

  • Re:Simple Solution (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) * on Sunday May 23, 2010 @11:47PM (#32319744) Homepage Journal

    Sounds like some politicians sure have a thing for big girls and feel bothered when they have to sort through a lot of small chested girls to get their fix.

    More likely that they break a sweat and feel their heart racing and their trousers tightening as they stumble upon pics of 18 year old Japanese chicks or high school volleyball games.

    Then they punish everybody else for their own guilt.

  • 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.


  • Re:Not quite (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cryacin ( 657549 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @12:17AM (#32319886)
    Well the law has been strongly molded for juries.
  • Re:lol (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2010 @01:36AM (#32320292)

    Or you could just send out a policy question email to your local government officials that requires a human response. And then use the message headers from any received emails to determine what time and what IP addresses they were attached to. From there, you track back the IP address range to the appropriate ISP (same DB as used by the music industry).

    BAM! BAM! BAM! The government offices are locked out of the internet.

    Any poor councillor that does some after hours emailing from their home account...BAM! BAM! BAM!

  • Re:Differentiation (Score:3, Insightful)

    by houghi ( 78078 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @02:32AM (#32320476)

    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 statement signed by several witnesses. It will make a weak case for me in court, but that is the ONLY place who should be able to tell if I am guilty or not.

  • 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:Not quite (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2010 @03:06AM (#32320596)

    Your argument boils down to "some poor person doesn't have it, therefore it is not essential".

    I could counter your claim with "some people don't clean water, is it therefore not essential?", but that would really only highlight your (deliberate?) misunderstanding. The GP clearly explained in what respect he believes Internet access to be essential: it is about having the basics to be able to participate in our (modern) society.

  • Re:Ass Monkies (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2010 @03:25AM (#32320666)

    "What the hell is this? A country race to see who can be the biggest corporate ass monkey the fastest?"

    Oh come on, 5 months from now we'll be reading about how the ISP is seeking bankrupcy protection.

  • 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.

  • Re:Ass Monkies (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2010 @04:55AM (#32321090)

    Yes, that's exactly what is happening. The entertainment industries need practically no natural resources, just some space to work and electrical power - copyright law is the only differentiating factor between countries when deciding where to set up shop. It's not so obvious recently but a few years ago world intellectual property law was a straight out competition to give the best return on creating data and so attract media companies.

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

    by ultranova ( 717540 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @06:22AM (#32321376)

    Eircom are a private company, they can choose to do business with whoever they please. I'm not even sure you could get a court order to reinstate your broadband.

    So that's the real reason behind privatization - when everything's private, you can enforce arbitrary rules by withholding access to various parts of society as punishment and say it's okay because the government is not directly involved.

    It's pretty ingenious, really.

  • Re:Not quite (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <{richardprice} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday May 24, 2010 @06:44AM (#32321472)
    Water, gas and electricity are already 'human rights', but utility companies have been able to cut off non-payers and abusers without issue.
  • Re:Ass Monkies (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2010 @07:05AM (#32321554)

    You are an old man who thinks in terms of nations and peoples. There are no nations. There are no peoples. There are no Russians. There are no Arabs. There are no Third Worlds. There is no West. There is only one holistic system of systems. One vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multi-variant, multinational dominion of dollars. Petrol dollars, electro dollars, multi-dollars. Reichsmarks, rins, rubles, pounds and shekels.

    It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic, and subatomic, and galactic structure of things today. And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature. And you will atone!

    Am I getting through to you?

    You get up on your little 21-inch screen and howl about America and democracy. There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT, and AT&T, and Du Pont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today. What do you think the Russians talk about in their councils of state? Karl Marx? They get out their linear programming charts, statistical decision theories, minimax solutions and compute price-cost probabilities of their transactions and investments, like we do.

    We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies, Mr. Beale. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business.

    The world is a business, Mr. Beale. It has been since man crawled out of the slime.

    And our children will live, Mr. Beale, to see that perfect world, in which there's no war or famine, oppression or brutality. One vast and ecumenical holding company for whom all men will work to serve a common profit and which all men will hold a share of stock. All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused.

    Network (1976)

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

    by buchner.johannes ( 1139593 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @07:11AM (#32321576) Homepage Journal

    Why? It's not like it's the only option to get Internet access.
    Just because they don't let you in McD anymore doesn't mean you're gonna starve. On a related note, that restaurants demand money also doesn't violate you're human rights.

  • Re:lol (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @08:10AM (#32321820)
    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 saying WTF? So they'd need people to take those calls. Trust me, things would change rather quickly.
  • Re:solution... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cpghost ( 719344 ) on Monday May 24, 2010 @11:46AM (#32324134) Homepage
    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.

What is algebra, exactly? Is it one of those three-cornered things? -- J.M. Barrie