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Ireland says Yes, Germany No to 3 Strikes
February 3, 2009
Thomas Mennecke
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The shutdown of Napster forced the development of decentralized networking. When targeting centralized networks no longer bore fruit, the entertainment industry tried flooding networks with corrupt files. When the file-sharing community responded with verified files, lawsuits became the norm. When lawsuits failed to make a dent in the P2P population, the next great vision of copyright enforcement came forth: 3 strikes and you're outta here!

This is the next big experiment in copyright enforcement. Let's face it, The Pirate Bay isn't going anywhere any time soon. And with tens of millions of users connected and using the BitTorrent protocol at any given moment, the entertainment industry can't afford to give up on enforcement. Targeting networks doesn't work, flooding networks doesn't work, and suing the population of the P2P community doesn't work. Maybe we can unplug them?

That's the plan being propagated around the globe, and it has the support of the major trade organizations such as the RIAA, IFPI and MPAA. Basically the plan calls for this: when an uploader is caught transferring a suspected file, they are given an initial warning. If it happens again, they are given a final warning. The third time? That's when the uploader is out and loses their internet connection.

France was the first country to drive this policy forward. While the 3 strikes policy has yet to become law in France, New Zealand was the first to sign it into law. The domino effect extended to Italy, which has indicated a willingness to follow the French model.

Ireland's largest ISP Eircom was forced into a similar agreement, when it finally relented to the IFPI. It appears the ISP was attempting to put up a legal fight, but settled 8 days into litigation. It was the first time an ISP was sued for copyright infringement and forced to adopt the policy.

Things aren't going so smoothly in the UK, where the ISPs and entertainment industry were not able to come to an agreement. As reported by the UK's Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform:

"None of the options highlighted in the consultation won widespread support," BERR announced last month. "Rather there was a marked polarisation of views between the rights holder community and consumers and the ISPs over what action should be taken."

In Germany, the tide appears to be turning decidedly against the entertainment industry. As reported by P2P and the German blog Spreeblick, German ISPs are breathing a sigh of relief after an statement from Secretary of Justice Brigitte Zypries sided with their cause.

"I don't think that (Three Strikes) is a fitting model for Germany or even Europe. Preventing someone from accessing the Internet seems like a completely unreasonable punishment to me. It would be highly problematic due to both constitutional and political aspects. I'm sure that once the first disconnects are going to happen in France, we will be hearing the outcry all the way to Berlin."

Although the RIAA is vying for a similar approach in the United States, few people are taking the threat seriously. Under the DMCA, or Digital Millennium Copyright Act, ISPs are granted safe harbor from any criminal or illegal material that may traverse their networks. Will any ISPs go along with the entertainment industry? Broadband Reports has published an article stating that AT&T and Comcast may participate, but neither have not come out publicly and acknowledged so. And who can blame them? Certainly many ISPs won’t participate, and that will definitely throw a giant wrench into the whole program.

This story is filed in these Slyck News categories
File-Sharing/P2P Related :: International

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