The Irish High Court has found that they cannot enforce a ruling for Internet service providers to cut off their users for illegally download files. This is despite claims that these unlawful downloads cost the music industry in Ireland $27.7 million per year.
EMI Records (Ireland), Sony Music Entertainment (Ireland), Universal Music Ireland, Warner Music Ireland and WEA International had all said that they wanted Internet service provider UPC to cut users downloading illegal files.
Justice Peter Charleton said that if he could have granted an injunction to crack down on sites like Pirate Bay he would have. However, Irish laws did not allow him to as they were not in full compliance with the EU directives.
Ireland's third-largest Internet provider, UPC, said that it was acting as a "mere conduit" for its users and that it could not control the actions of its users, reported the Irish Examiner.
"I do not accept any of the evidence from UPC as to its unawareness of this process" said Justice Charleton. However, he also said "I cannot grant the injunction because I have no legal power to do so."
The Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) has already said they will not rule out an appeal in the Supreme Court. They also said that they reserve the right to claim compensation from the state over past losses.
"We will now look to the Irish Government to fully vindicate the constitutional rights of copyright holders and we reserve the right to seek compensation for the past and continuing losses from the state," the director general of IRMA Dick Doyle, told the Irish Examiner.
The Irish band, Aslan, claims that they have lost out on 30,000 album sales due to illegal downloading. Billy McGuinness, a member of the band said "It's a sad day."
Last year Ireland's largest Internet provider, Eircom, agreed on an out-of-court deal to tackle illegal downloads. They now send 5,000 notifications to their customers who have been downloading illegally every month.
Spokesperson for the Minister for Communications, Eamon Ryan, said he would be seeking to resolve the issue with Enterprise Minister Batt O'Keeffe. The spokesperson said "The minister will be inviting representatives from the music industry and internet service providers into his department to formulate an agreed approach."
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