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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Entertainment Industry Will Sue Ireland

Ireland might become the first country to be brought down by the music industry for failing to do what it is told regarding to file-sharing. According to the reports, entertainment industry is currently going to sue the cash-strapped Irish government for failing to bring in a copyright legislation that blocks sites.

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The entertainment industry wants websites it mentions to be blocked without having to go to trial. So, if the Ireland doesn’t do what it is told, it will be claimed a pirate and must be brought down. It seems that the background to this case is hidden in the October 2010 judgment in EMI vs UPC case, where the judge decided that Irish legislation didn’t permit to make an order against an Internet service provider demanding blocking of online services.

The entertainment industry replied that considering the fact that the country hadn’t enacted the proper legislation, it can be held liable for all the file-sharing committed in Ireland. This is going to be worth several trillion to the industry, with the attorneys adding lots of zeros, which means that the Irish government can become the first nation state to be sued into insolvency.

Actually, Ireland has already said that they will develop some “statutory” tool to let the blocking of sites be implemented in accordance to European legislation in the next week. However, it doesn’t look like the industry wants exactly the ability to block a site. Recently, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner has already decided against Eircom's “three-strikes” regime, and if any “statutory” tool allows for blocking online services, it won’t allow a SOPA legislation where the music industry orders a broadband provider to take offline a website without any evidence.

It seems that the music industry is going to use the European law principle, first used in Italy, where the damages are now possible against the government for failure to implement an EU directive. However, it might appear tricky to get a conviction: the music industry would have to prove that filtering online services prevents piracy and demonstrate that Ireland didn't bring in a legislation in question fast enough.

Thus far, the experts believe that in the unlikely event that the industry wins with the damages being on a common file-sharing level and the country remaining as broke as it is, the industry would be in a very interesting situation of owning a country.

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