by Mike Masnick
Tue, Mar 11th 2008 7:21am
Earlier this year, the IFPI was successful in convincing a court to force a Danish ISP to block access to the Pirate Bay. Rather than recognizing that this only helped drive more traffic to the Pirate Bay, the folks at the IFPI seem to have gotten it into their heads that the best course of action is to start suing ISPs for not stopping file sharing. Its first target is the large Irish ISP Eircom. Eircom points out all the obvious things: it has no idea what its users are doing on the network, it's just providing the network -- and no one had made it aware of any specific infringing activity. Rather than deal with those very reasonable questions, the record labels responded with the ridiculous "but you know it's happening!" response which we've heard all too often these days. Of course, knowing that unauthorized file sharing is happening on your network and being either liable or able to stop it are two very different things. Basically, the record labels seem to be admitting that they are unable to stop file sharing, so it must be someone else's job. Even worse, they seem to be saying that it's a legal responsibility of someone else to try to prop up their own failed business model. Talk about grasping at straws. I'm not sure if Ireland has laws like the US's safe harbor provisions protecting service providers from liability for the actions of users, but hopefully the Irish courts quickly realize how ridiculous it is to pin liability on an ISP and throw this case out. What's also partly disturbing is the fact that the "but you know it's happening!" comment comes from an EMI exec, just after we thought EMI was moving away from ridiculous IFPI lawsuits. Apparently not.
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