Irish file sharers set to receive first warning letters, as research finds a third of UK users are uninfluenced by Digital Economy Act laws

News by Dan Raywood

Irish illegal filesharers are set to receive letters from the service provider Eircom warning customers that they could be cut off from the internet for up to a year.

Irish illegal filesharers are set to receive letters from the service provider Eircom warning customers that they could be cut off from the internet for up to a year.

According to BBC News, the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) has begun supplying Eircom with ‘thousands of IP addresses', from which the ISP will initially cross-reference about 50 per week to extract the physical address of identified net pirates.

Users will be sought out if they are sharing, rather than just downloading, content illegally. Initially they will be sent a letter and a follow-up phone call from a new unit set up by Eircom to deal with the issue. They may also get a pop-up warning on their screen.

If they persist, on a third occasion they will have their service withdrawn for a week and, if a fourth infringement occurs, will be cut off for a year.

Eircom spokesman Paul Bradley told BBC News: “There is a strong educational element, it could be that customers have a security issue with their home WiFi or they might not know what kids are doing online.”

The concept is set to be assessed after three months and if necessary, tougher measures including permanent disconnection could be introduced.

Dick Doyle, director general of IRMA, claimed that it did not expect many people to get to phase three, and was a long way from looking at suspensions.

ISP TalkTalk previously claimed that unless it is served with a court order, it will never surrender a customer's details to rights holders. Speaking to SC Magazine yesterday, Open Rights Group executive director Jim Killock commented that current consultation is currently going on with regard to cost implications and how letters will be sent out, and it was clear to him 'that it is ill thought-out and it will not take long to figure out why'.

A survey from law firm Wiggin and Entertainment Media Research asked UK consumers if they thought the changes to the law as a result of the Digital Economy Act would mean anything to them.

According to the Inquirer, a third of those who admitted to downloading the odd file said that they would not change their behaviour even if the most direct action of internet account ‘suspension' is implemented. However they might change their minds when they have their internet access cut off.

One in five said the measures would lead them to take an active role in monitoring the use of their internet account, while a quarter said that the most effective and fair way to stop 'piracy' is to block access to unlawful websites.

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