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Dublin: 10.03.2014 05.48PM
In the latest development in a long-running battle between major music labels and Irish internet service providers (ISPs), the High Court of Ireland has ordered six ISPs – including Vodafone, UPC, Imagine, Digiweb, Hutchison Whampoa (3 Ireland) and Telefónica (O2 Ireland) – to block controversial torrent sharing site The Pirate Bay within the next 30 days.
EMI, Sony and Warner Music took the case to block the controversial torrent sharing site.
The case was originally moved to the Commercial Court earlier this year and at the time the labels and the ISPs were encouraged to sit down and sort the matter out.
However, the matter was taken to the High Court by the labels last week and the presiding judge, Mr Justice Brian McGovern, requested a week to study the affidavits.
The labels claimed 200,000 people – about 8pc of the internet user base in Ireland – access The Pirate Bay and the labels have long argued this is having a devastating effect, to the tune of €20m a year from lost sales of music, film, TV and video-game content.
Incumbent operator Eircom came to an agreement to implement filtering software and a three-strikes system in 2011 following a court battle with the operators.
Cable broadband provider UPC successfully held off attempts to get it to put in place filtering software and a three-strikes system due to an interpretation of the Copyright Act 2000.
Following this, a controversial statutory instrument amending the Copyright Act 2000 was signed into law this time last year by Innovation Minister Sean Sherlock, TD, giving court judges powers to grant injunctions against ISPs. A review of the copyright laws was instigated shortly after the statutory instrument was signed.
McGovern today ruled that he was satisfied to go ahead with the order to block The Pirate Bay due to the new copyright laws being implemented in Ireland.
The decision comes just months after a UK court ordered ISPs there to block access to file-sharing websites.
Sources in the local Irish telecoms industry say the ISPs are unlikely to appeal the High Court's decision.