By Glenn Peoples, Billboard, Nashville
As Americans debate bills that would block access to infringing websites within the U.S., one company is pressing Ireland’s government to offer the same protections to copyright owners. According to two reports, EMI Music Ireland has sued the Irish state in an effort to force anti-piracy provisions,
The Irish government has pledged it will allow copyright holders to compel ISPs to remove access to certain websites deemed to be infringing in nature. According to a December 2011 report, the Department of Enterprise, Innovation and Jobs confirmed to EMI Ireland that an order would be published this month.
But EMI Ireland head Willie Kavanagh tells the Irish Times he has yet to see the government’s order and believes “it’s unlikely to satisfy the music industry’s requirement for injunctive relief.” The company had previously warned it would take legal action if the state did not address the problem, according to reports.
EMI Ireland seeks the same kind of protections that would be offered within the U.S. by the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House of Representatives and the PROTECT IP bill in the Senate. SOPA in particular has become a lightning rod for controversy. The bill has created widespread opposition from technology companies and citizens. In fact, numerous Internet companies will take part in a “SOPA Blackout” on January 18. Gaming company Destructoid and the Cheezburger network of 50 sites will completely go offline that day.
‘Record labels have had their share of disappointments in Ireland. In October 2010, the Irish High Court ruled that laws that force disconnection of illegal downloaders cannot be enforced in the country. The judge found that copyright owners’ rights had been breached but said the Copyright Act did not provide for disconnection as a remedy.
Even record labels’ success in Ireland has been watered down. Irish ISP Eircom unilaterally implemented a “three strikes” system in 2010 to cut down on illegal file-sharing on its network. But last month the Data Protection Commissioner told Eircom it could not cut off Internet access after a third strike against a customer.