Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
ifpi, ireland, isps, liability, safe harbor

eircom, ifpi

IFPI's New Strategy: Sue ISPs For Not Stopping File Sharing

from the making-life-even-worse-for-themselves dept

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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  1. icon
    Crosbie Fitch (profile), 11 Mar 2008 @ 7:45am

    That is the sound of inevitability

    Instantaneous diffusion device meet publishing industry.

    One represents the natural behaviour of cultural exchange, the other represents its unnatural suspension to create a commercial incentive.

    Other commercial incentives are available.

    No other natural laws are available.

    Sorry, but that's the way it is.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    koresho, 11 Mar 2008 @ 7:50am

    I will be really unhappy if/when the US safe harbors are taken away... Then we will all have ISP's breathing down our necks.
    To properly mask the torrent system, we'd have to redesign the entire method... that would suck.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    What about, 11 Mar 2008 @ 7:57am

    Everyother media

    Publishing industry to Xerox: But you know people copy books on your machines! You have to filter copying.

    Publishing industry to M$: But you know your operating system helps people copy. You have to filter copying. (Ok, admittedly they are actually trying to do this but it fails miserably)

    Publishing industry to Bic: But you know your pens are used to copy our works. You have to filter copying.

    Publishing industry to Paper industy: See above

    and so on...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Stefano Quintarelli, 11 Mar 2008 @ 8:02am

    EU regulations explicitly say that ISPs have no re
    Articles from 12 to 15

    1. Where an information society service is provided that consists of the transmission in a communication network of information provided by a recipient of the service, or the provision of access to a communication network, Member States shall ensure that the service provider is not liable for the information transmitted, on condition that the provider:

    (a) does not initiate the transmission;

    (b) does not select the receiver of the transmission; and

    (c) does not select or modify the information contained in the transmission.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    SteveD, 11 Mar 2008 @ 8:25am

    Re: making the torrent system

    But encryption systems already exist for torrent networks.

    Forcing ISPs to monitor torrents (if it was even legal to do so) will simply cause torrent developers to switch to exclusively encrypted systems.

    If the last ten years have shown us anything its that the more pressure thats placed upon pirates the faster they innovate to escape that pressure.

    Its clear that the IFPI is looking for a landmark ruling on this issue so it can then be pushed upon other Nations. The question that no ones askingy is why of all the countries in the world did they choose Ireland as their battleground?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Ronan, 11 Mar 2008 @ 8:40am

    Why Ireland

    Maybe this:

    "Back in June 2007, the High Court ordered Digiweb, BT, Smart Telecom, Irish Broadband, NTL, Eircom and Imagine to hand over the identities of 23 people reportedly involved in sharing copyrighted music online."

    Although it looks like the EU overturned this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Nobody, 11 Mar 2008 @ 9:04am

    Lets get really crazy

    Using this same thought process, here are some other groups that really need to crack down on criminal activity:

    Automotive Industry - People are speeding and not following traffic laws. Fix it!

    Guns & Ammunition - Why can't you make your weapons only work on targets and legal game animals? Your letting people die!

    Medicine - How is it you let people overdose on medications, or take other peoples pills? For shame, you are as bad as the gun smiths!

    The list is virtually endless...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    TheZorch, 11 Mar 2008 @ 10:01am

    FCC Won't Allow It.

    Recently the FCC issued a statement which pretty much warned other US ISPs from doing this sort of thing while they get set to wrap up their probe of Comcast. Comcast's sneaky stunt of putting people who support them in FCC meetings and keeping others out has made the FCC a bit upset. We'll likely see a ban by the FCC on the kinds of activities Comcast is doing before the end of the year. Which means any ISP which is doing the same as Comcast should worry at this point.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2008 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re: making the torrent system

    Learn about a protocol before you spout stuff.

    1) The encryption is weak, and only hides WHAT it is (eg a Torrent) not what is IN it (some David Bowie albums).

    2) Even when encrypted you just have to monitor the port. 6881-6999 are the only ports Bit Torrent listens to. If it isn't in that range, it's not going to find it without changing the protocol. Oh and that's only for *inbound* traffic, and you'll need one port for every Torrent going.

    The trackers listen to port 6969. Just that one (usually). That can be changed, but then it'd be documented. ISPs can shut down the majority torrents just by blocking that one port.

    BitTorrent is not built for hiding _anything_. It is an amazing protocol and has a LOT of practical uses. It is extremely unlikely that the protocol itself would get banned, and if it did it would very likely be unbanned by SCOTUS in short order.

    There are a lot of changes that need to be made to this country to get our shit back in order. I just hope that over the next few decades people in power actually (wishful thinking) concentrate on that rather than pissing off the rest of the world.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    just a visitor, 11 Mar 2008 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: Re: making the torrent system

    Anonymous Coward said:
    Learn about a protocol before you spout stuff.

    I say:
    You better do the same thing, even more when your comment was so lame and incorrect...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    mike allen, 11 Mar 2008 @ 10:31am

    why ireland?

    ok they did order that some ISPs give names over but can go the other way at one time there were 100s of pirate stations in Ireland. only they wernt irish courts ruled that the stations could continue why? well the defence (so Im told) was that the transmitter was actually heating the guys home the fact he was playing music to it was imaterial. so i guess was the fact they had no law to stop the stations at the time. the moral is that the Irish courts can go anyway and that no verdict is gauranteed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    YouKnowNothing, 11 Mar 2008 @ 11:29am

    Re: Everyother media

    And what about those damned LIBRARIES!?!? Lending out BOOKS for FREE?!??!?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    zcat, 11 Mar 2008 @ 11:45am

    already working around here

    My provider already blocks or severely shapes p2p traffic. emule won't even connect, torrents come down at dial-up speeds. I would change providers but I'm not sure any of the others are any better.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    another mike, 11 Mar 2008 @ 12:00pm

    how far can they go

    I just have to ask, how far can the ISPs go before they lose safe harbor provisions? How much can they do before they are no longer just a dumb pipe, a connectivity provider?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Johndifo, 11 Mar 2008 @ 12:17pm

    Sue Windows, Linux and OSX for allowing pirate data managment

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Overcast, 11 Mar 2008 @ 1:01pm

    Don't forget the Power Companies, the Plastic Industry, and cable manufacturers!

    Oh.... and the DVD maker too :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Steve, 11 Mar 2008 @ 1:41pm


    Over the air brodcast video tape recordings anyone? TiVo? Video tapes with recordings?

    People should get to work on that right away!

    We live in such a f**ked up world. Maybe if we were to get one person in power that knows what they are doing and what is best, instead of these turds that just do what they think is best for themselves, we would have such a better world. Then that one person should just rule the world. Kind of like the UN, but better. No more world wars. Equal dollers. No more problems with illegal immigrants. And hey, no more screwed up gready money grabbing rulers in Africa! The world would be such a better place. Then we could focus on more important things like space travel, diseases, genetic enginering, and destroying any trace of any a$$h0le record company! YAY!

    just my 25 cents

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Mar 2008 @ 8:10pm


    Shouldn't all packaging me outlawed? People litter all the the time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Mar 2008 @ 4:20am

    I wonder if they will try to sue the electricity companies for the illigal file sharing that's happening using their electricity supply.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. identicon
    Benji, 15 Jun 2009 @ 12:23am

    you must download this progmam working

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21. icon
    Danny (profile), 28 Dec 2011 @ 11:27pm

    This strategy Of IFPI is great and more effective to prevent piracy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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