Record labels sue Digiweb, UPC, Imagine, Vodafone and 3 to block The Pirate Bay
Irish-based ISPs UPC, Digiweb, Imagine, Vodafone and 3 have been hit with a new legal action by big four record labels EMI, Sony, Warner and Universal it emerged this afternoon.
In a case that will be held on 17 December the labels are seeking an injunction compelling the ISPs to block controversial torrent sharing site The Pirate Bay.
“UPC can confirm that proceedings have been served on its legal representatives. UPC understands that similar proceedings have been served on four other ISPs,” the company said today.
“UPC declined IRMA’s request in pre-litigation correspondence to voluntarily block The Pirate Bay. We understand that all other ISPs joined to the proceedings similarly declined the request.
“UPC can confirm however its position has not changed. As an ISP, our position is that ISPs should not on a voluntary basis decide what can or should be consumed by users. We believe such matters are for the government or court to decide,” the company said.
Mobile operator Hutchison 3G (3)PR and communications director Rachel Channing made the following statement: “Three’s position on the request to block Pirate Bay is neutral – we believe this is a matter for the courts to decide if ISPs should block certain sites for legal reasons.”
A test for the new statutory instrument?
Over the past two years cable broadband provider UPC staunchly defended itself against the imposition of ‘three strikes’ remedies in cases taken against it by the big four record companies in Ireland.
UPC’s lonely defence was based on the principle that the record companies were seeking it to enact ‘three strikes’ remedies based on an agreement between the labels and Eircom and that there were no laws requiring UPC to do so.
Following this, the Government of Ireland signed a controversial statutory instrument earlier this year – dubbed ‘Ireland’s SOPA’ – to plug a loophole in Ireland’s copyright laws that previously prevented the labels from successfully suing UPC.
It is feared that the instrument will put ISPs at the mercy of the Irish courts in disputes over illegal downloads and result in unpopular three-strikes rulings.