Eircom and Big Four labels building legal music download service

1 Sep 2009

Eircom revealed this morning that it is to launch an ‘innovative’ new music service in the coming months in partnership with the Big Four record labels EMI, Universal, Warner and Sony.

The news comes on the same day that Eircom confirmed that from today, 1 September, Eircom broadband subscribers who attempt to access file sharing site The Pirate Bay or associated URLs and domains will find their access blocked.

Instead the largest telecoms operator in Ireland is constructing its own ‘innovative’ music service for Irish consumers to download legitimate music.

“Eircom has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the four major labels to develop an innovative new music service for all Irish consumers.

“This new music service is expected to launch in the next few months,” the company said this morning.

In January, as part of an out-of-court settlement with IRMA, Eircom agreed to implement a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy against illegal peer-to-peer (P2P) downloaders.

It also agreed to work with data provided by the Big Four labels to help them pinpoint and pursue illegal downloaders and uploaders. The ruling set a precedent and it was expected that all other ISPs in the Irish market would be compelled to co-operate with the music industry.

However, rival operators BT and UPC are currently fighting a High Court battle against the Big Four labels who have requested they implement a three strikes policies.

Both companies say there is no basis in Irish law requiring them to do so.

Cable broadband provider UPC is also refusing to block access to The Pirate Bay and has been threatened with an injunction by the Big Four record labels.

Eircom said this morning: “In making the Order, requiring eircom to block access to the PirateBay website, the High Court was satisfied that the website is dedicated to facilitating the illegal downloading of copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright owners.

“Eircom recognises the legitimate rights of the owners of copyrighted material and believes that individuals who share or download copyrighted material without the authorisation or the permission of the owner of that content are acting illegally.

The company reassured customers that as part of the block “Eircom will not monitor customers’ activities at any stage, nor will it place any monitoring equipment or software on its network in order to facilitate this block.”

By John Kennedy

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