High Court orders UPC to take action against illegal downloaders with two warnings

28 Mar 2015

The High Court has ordered UPC to take actions against illegal downloaders in a two-stage notification system rather than the three-strikes system used by Eircom.

The High Court has also ordered UPC to help create a detection system that could cost up to €900,000 to build.

In the action taken against UPC by Sony Music, Warner Music and Universal Music, Mr Justice Brian Cregan granted an injunction requiring UPC to take action against subscribers engaged in illegal downloading.

Mr Justice Cregan has instructed all parties in the case to study his judgement and return on 29 April with submissions on how his order can be implemented.

UPC is to set up a detection system that uses information provided by the record companies within 12 to 15 months.

It will also inform and warn offenders that they could lose their internet connection if they continue to download content illegally.

Two rather than three strikes

The service only differs from Eircom’s ‘three strikes’ policy in that rather than having internet immediately disabled there is a further legal process involved.

At the end of a two-stage notification system alleged offenders will receive warning letters from UPC. But rather than having their internet disconnected it is understood that the record labels can seek the disconnection of the offender’s internet through a court order.

The cost creating the detection system is understood to be between €800,000 and €900,000 and it will cost between €200,000 and €300,000 a year to operate

Cregan has suggested that given the losses to earnings sustained by the record labels UPC will have to foot 80pc of the cost of building the system while the cost of running an independent arbitration system will have to be borne equally by the parties.

A fair procedures system is required to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights.

“We note today’s judgement and are currently in the process of reviewing the detail,” a spokesperson for UPC told Siliconrepublic.com last night.

Dublin High Court image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years