EMI Sues Irish Government Over Piracy


Music industry accuses Ireland of not doing enough to protect copyright

EMI Ireland is to sue the already cash-strapped Irish government over claims that it isn’t doing enough to prevent illegal file sharing.

According to The Irish Times, EMI is unhappy that the state hasn’t been swift enough in implementing anti-piracy measures which comply with aspects of European law.

Bad luck of the Irish

The Irish government has pledged to issue an order to allow copyright holders to request ISPs to block access to websites that they consider to be engaging in piracy, ever since a case in 2010 where a judge ruled that Irish law didn’t permit such an order to be made.

There has been an example of this in the UK, where BT was asked by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) to block access to file-sharing websites The Pirate Bay and Newzbin, following pressure from record companies, publishers and film studios.

EMI is concerned that this new legislation could be delayed again and that even when it does arrive, it may not be satisfactory from its point of view.

Willie Kavanagh, chief executive of EMI Ireland, said that the label had asked the government to show them the new order, but it had not seen it, “leading me to believe it’s unlikely to satisfy the music industry’s requirement for injunctive relief.”

The current anti-piracy measures in place in the country is that customers who repeatedly engage in illegal file sharing run the risk of having their broadband connection disconnected.

Anti-piracy measures featured in the US SOPA and British Digital Economy Act have proved controversial, with Google Chairman Eric Schmidt criticising the UK government over the latter, saying it infringes on freedom of speech.

Last week it was suggested that the US threatened Spain with trade sanctions if it didn’t pass an anti-piracy law, but this is not the case in Switzerland, which declared that downloading music, movies and games was legal. The Swiss government justified the decision by saying that copyright holders don’t suffer as downloaders eventually spend the money saved on other entertainment products.

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