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Business News (more headlines) 04-18-2010

Overwhelming Victory For Irish Artists In High Court

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"The right to be identified with and to reasonably exploit one's own original creative endeavour I regard as a human right".

"It is completely within the legitimate standing of Eircom to act, and to be seen to act, as a body which upholds the law and Constitution. That is what the Court expects of both individuals and companies." Mr Justice Peter Charleton

Following the significant decision by Mr Justice Charleton in the High Court, IRMA and Eircom will now proceed with their graduated response to illegal filesharing which was agreed in February 2009. The decision vindicates IRMA's position that an IP address refers solely to the network address of a computer and is not personal data when in IRMA's possession.

The graduated response programme now proceeds to the educational and awareness campaign. International research shows that 90% of illegal filesharers will desist on being notified for the first time by their ISP. The graduated response programme allows for 3 notifications and the ultimate sanction of disconnection will only happen after 3 infringements and after due process.

Speaking after the decision, Dick Doyle, Director General of IRMA said "we are very pleased with this decision today. Resolving this issue has caused 6 months of disruption to the IRMA/Eircom agreement. We will now proceed immediately to implement the full agreement.

Willie Kavanagh, Chairman of IRMA, added " the whole music industry, including performers, composers and record labels, has been decimated by illegal peer to peer traffic and our losses amount to over €60m per annum. Our industry has lost 40% in sales value between 2005 and 2009 with devastating effects on Artists and creativity. Today's decision is the first step back towards allowing Artists to make a living again. "

In his Judgement, Mr Justice Peter Charleton said: "The internet is only a means of communication. It has not rewritten the legal rules of each nation through which it passes. It is not an amorphous extraterrestrial body with an entitlement to norms that run counter to the fundamental principles of human rights.

There is nothing in the criminal or civil law which legalises that which is otherwise illegal simply because the transaction takes place over the internet."

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