Copyright holders seek ‘reasonable measures’ to halt piracy

25 Nov 2011

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UPDATE – Sources close to the entertainment industry locally, who are fighting to protect the rights of copyright holders in the face of wholesale piracy online, say yesterday’s judgement by the European Court of Justice in the Scarlet Vs SABAM case protecting ISPs from injunctions is missing the point.

“The copyright holders are seeking reasonable measures to stop the activity of piracy,” an entertainment industry source told Siliconrepublic.com.

As such, the decision by the European Court of Justice yesterday, which effectively precludes national courts from granting injunctions forcing ISPs to monitor their networks to protect copyrighted work, is not seen as relevant.

The source said no one in the local entertainment industry had argued that Irish ISPs should filter all web traffic looking for piracy.

Instead, the source explained, it was intended that individual web sites having been proved in court as a source of pirated material by an aggrieved copyright holder would then be blocked following an application to the High Court.

It is clear that injunctions aside, copyright holders have no intention of giving up the fight to protect their work.

Piracy of copyrighted material is hurting the entertainment industry and no doubt is costing jobs. Over the course of six years, sales of music CDs in the Irish market went from €146m in 2001 to €102m in 2007. Globally, according to the IFPI, more than US$40bn worth of music was illegally downloaded in 2007, up from US$20bn in 2006.

In response to the source’s words, ALTO chairman Ronan Lupton, who represents licensed telcos, told Siliconrepublic.com: “Fundamentally, the (telecoms) industry is not against rights holders enforcing their rights. But as noted by the European Court of Justice, those rights must be enforced within the legal framework provided for by the E-commerce Directive.

“Telecoms companies and internet service providers should not be seen as a litigation mark to shore up losses which in many cases are fictional and assigned in many instances incorrectly to the conduit as opposed to the actual infringers.

“Evidence of this can be seen in actions taken in 2002 to 2003 before the Irish high court, where €70,000 in settlements were achieved at a cost to the rights holders of €700,000,” Lupton said.

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com