5th December 2011 | Uncategorised

European Court of Justice ruling provides an important protection of Internet Rights


Statement by Eamon Ryan

“The Case has real implications for the Irish Government who have been considering introducing legislation to allow for such monitoring of internet traffic. The Department of Enterprise signalled their intent to do so in response to a judgement from Justice Peter Charlton, in a case taken by the Music Rights Bodies against UPC Ireland.”

“Judge Peter Charlton cited Belgian legislation in support of his contention that the right to protect copyright should be held above the rights for privacy on the internet. Yesterday’s judgement called that legislation into question and should force the Government into a rethink on the new regulations they were planning.”

“The case also has implications for Eircom who have been put at a Commercial disadvantage with other ISPs as a result of an ‘out of court’ settlement they have already agreed with the Music Rights Bodies.”

“The arrangements are different to those in the case considered by the ECJ, in that it is the Music Rights Bodies who monitor and notify Eircom of instances of illegal file sharing. The company is then required to send a letter threatening customers with restrictions on their internet service. However, it is very hard to see how the Rights Bodies can claim that the ECJ ruling is a vindication of their approach. It is even more difficult to see how they will now be able to compel other ISPs to take similar measures.”

“What we need to do is take a different tack which protects both the right of the Musician to get properly paid for their work and at the same time recognise that there is a fundamental right to privacy on the internet that needs to be protected.”

“Eircom have already taken a step in the right direction with the introduction of their new Music Hub services. www.eircommusichub.ieOther measures such as restricting advertising opportunities or search preferences for sites that are clearly designed to encourage illegal activity, could go a long way to supporting the music industry without restricting freedom on the net.”

“As a fast growing centre for internet business it is important for Ireland to get the regulation of the internet right. The ECJ ruling could not have come at a better time to insure that the Government stops and thinks again about what it is doing.”