IRMA Strongarms Mobile ISPs To Disconnect File-Sharers

After confirming last week it was going ahead with partner Eircom to start disconnecting alleged file-sharers from the Internet, music industry group IRMA has begun to spread its net even wider. It is now in advanced negotiations with two mobile ISPs to implement the same scheme and and will take legal action against two more.

Following its 2009 out-of-court settlement with Ireland’s largest ISP Eircom, last week IRMA – representing EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner – confirmed the pair would start tracking, warning and disconnecting alleged file-sharers.

Armed with tracking data from Danish company DtecNet, IRMA would begin supplying the ISP with suspected infringing IP addresses during a 3 month pilot period.

Now, in line with their promise to Eircom that they would not leave the ISP at a competitive disadvantage, IRMA are now going after yet more ISPs in an attempt to force them into the same ’3 strikes’ style agreement.

According to a report this morning, IRMA now has the mobile broadband sector in their spotlight. Yesterday the music industry group – which controls 90% of Ireland’s recorded music – filed papers against mobile operators O2 and 3.

“O2 can confirm that it has been served with a plenary summons by solicitors acting on behalf of record labels EMI, Warner, Universal and Sony,” the company told Irish Times. “O2 is currently reviewing the issue, but does not believe it is legally liable in relation to illegal filesharing activities that any of its customers might seek to engage in.”

A spokeswoman for 3 Ireland confirmed that they too had received legal papers.

Two other mobile ISPs, Vodafone and Eircom subsidiary Meteor, seem to be cooperating with IRMA and are said to be in “advanced negotiations” with the group.

To go after Ireland’s mobile ISPs is an interesting move by IRMA. When disconnections were threatened under the UK’s then Digital Economy Bill, many individuals stated they would use 3G wireless dongles to evade any such ban. Apart from their higher costs of operation, they do have a significant benefits for would-be file-sharers. Operators have stated that due to the way the system is set up, it could be almost impossible to match tracked IP addresses with specific customers.

In the meantime, cable operator UPC continues to dig in its heels by refusing to cooperate with IRMA. Its case will be heard in the High Court in June.

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