Ireland Gets France’s Three Strikes; Eircom Will Boot Persistent File-Sharers

After spending eight days fighting the major record labels in court, Ireland’s largest ISP, Eircom has now agreed to start warning customers who download music illegally, and will disconnect them after three search notices – a so-called “graduated response”.

The big four, marshalled by the Irish Recorded Music Association, took Eircom to court to force it to block illegal files by adding monitoring software like Audible Magic. Eircom resisted but has now reached a settlement, agreeing to send letters to freeloaders identified by the labels’ own monitoring efforts.

This is a similar arrangement to the BPI’s relationship with the UK’s top six ISPs, which is likely to be finalised following the publication of Digital Britain but which stops short of three-strikes. It’s also similar to the situation likely to be introduced in France, which employs three-strikes and will be overseen by a new government agency.

This is not, however, now Irish national policy, since the agreement is a private settlement. Indeed, some including the European media commissioner have said such disconnections may be illegal. But SiliconRepublic speculates: “The ruling means a precedent has been set, and all other ISPs in the Irish market will now have to co-operate with the music industry.” IMRA chairman Willie Kavanagh (via SiliconRepublic):