ISPs asked to reveal identities of file sharers


19 Oct 2006

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The Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) has asked the courts to order internet service providers to release names of 10 music file sharers who it claims are abusing copyright on the internet. The organisation has announced legal action against the file sharers.

The actions are aimed at ‘uploaders’ — people who have put hundreds or thousands of copyrighted songs onto internet file sharing networks and offered them to millions of people worldwide without permission from the copyright owners. The industry is targeting uploaders using all the major unauthorised peer-to-peer services including BitTorrent, eDonkey, DirectConnect, Gnutella, Limewire, SoulSeek and WinMX.

Since IRMA launched its campaign against illegal file sharing in April 2005 it has settled with 52 individuals at an average of €2,500 per case. It is currently in talks with a further 14 and will consider its legal options if necessary with these remaining cases.

Dick Doyle, director general of IRMA, said: “When we announced this campaign in April 2005 we saw a dramatic fall in the number of file sharers on the Irish market. This was encouraging. However, in recent months the number of files being uploaded has increased to proportions where we feel that we have no choice but to bring these individuals to justice for their actions.”

To date more than 2,300 people worldwide have paid the price for illegally file sharing copyrighted material. Many of those on the receiving end of legal action are parents whose children have been illegally file sharing. In many cases it was deemed they were liable for any activities third parties undertake using their internet connection.

In recent days over 8,000 new cases in 17 countries have been announced, including the first ever cases against illegal file sharing in the two biggest markets of South America and eastern Europe. A total of more than 13,000 legal actions have now been taken outside the US.

IRMA said it is committed to raising awareness with parents through initiatives such as educational brochures sent to colleges and businesses, an extensive radio campaign on national and local radio as well as through the website www.pro-music.org. In the past year IRMA have worked closely with NCTE (National Centre for Technology in Education) to promote Digital File Check, a free computer program that will prevent users from illegal file sharing.

By Niall Byrne