Wednesday, January 28, 2009

IRMA own our butts

Ireland is now the proud holder of another world first, though perhaps not a particularly glorious one.
In what has been billed as a world first, four music companies and internet server provider Eircom have agreed to work together to end illegal music downloading.
Though of course it's not all bad, it's not like the music companies will be the ones deciding who broke the law and who didn't. Oh wait...
The four music companies have agreed to provide Eircom with the IP addresses of internet users detected illegally uploaded or downloading music.

For its part Eircom is agreeing to implement a three-step process - informing a subscriber if their IP address has been detected infringing copyright, warning the subscriber that if they do not stop they will be disconnected, and finally disconnecting the user if fail to heed the warning.
Great, so IRMA will tell Eircom who they believe are infringing copyright by illegally downloading music. Eircom in turn will do IRMA bidding and confront the offender. I suppose IRMA will also get to tell Eircom when the subscriber has stopped downloading music and eventually who Eircom should or should not disconnect, after all if IRMA are the ones who provide the IP addresses of the offenders they must know when they are downloading and when or if they stop, mustn't they? Finally I have to wonder if IRMA will be able to pursue the subscriber through the courts at a later date to get damages for the poor artists who can only afford 20 bed mansions instead of 30 bed ones.

Is it worth pointing out that this is IRMA is made up of the record labels that apparently added to delays in the launch of legal downloading of music on iTunes in Ireland while negotiating with Apple and that some of IRMA's members are also movie studios who may also be adding to delays in movie downloads in Ireland in a similar manner? If they had their way we'd probably still be buying music on vinyl in Ireland.

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