The Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) has won a High Court case requiring seven internet service providers to hand over the names and addresses of 23 Irish people suspected of illegally sharing music online.
Following a six month investigation it is alleged that the 23 people distributed 180,000 copyrighted songs illegally. One individual alone provided over 37,500 files for download.
The ISPs required to reveal the names and addresses are: Eircom, UPC, Smart Telecom, BT, Irish Broadband, Imagine and Digiweb.
The 23 illegal music distributors were monitored on popular peer-to-peer sites like KaZaA, Gnutella, Fast Track and DirectConnect.
Mr Justice Peter Kelly has given the seven ISP 21 days to hand over the names and addresses to IRMA.
IRMA brought the case on behalf of Sony BMG, Universal, EMI and Warner. These firms account for 85pc of albums on sale in Ireland.
To date IRMA has prosecuted 66 people out of which 60 admitted file sharing and paid an averge compensation of between €2,500 and €3,000. Four are being pursued in the courts and one is untraceable.
It is understood that out of the 66 people prosecuted, 22 were minors and as a result their parents had to pay up.
By John Kennedy