Copyright Infringers are Responsible for Their Actions

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ISPAI fully supports member organisation UPC in its stance in defending its position of “mere conduit” as a provider of Internet access services. We have stated these priniciples on many occassions to the media and on this site.

ISPAI reiterates that it does not in any way condone the use of ISP’s Internet services for the infringement of  Copyright. If rightsholders wish to take action against persons they allege are infringing their works, that action must be taken against the alleged infringer. It should not be taken against ISPs who are “mere conduits” providing a public communications services. The ISP companies are not infringing the music companies’ works and therefore action taken against ISPAI members is completely spurious. Indeed, where legal action has been taken against Irish subscribers alleged to have been breaking copyright, ISPAI members have complied with court orders to identify the subscriber involved to the Irish courts.

There is no legal basis under either Irish or European law that requires an ISP to monitor or block subscriber traffic or block any websites on the allegations of a private body. ISPAI members have always complied with requirements made of them through proper judicial process and it is vital for an open democratic society that these processes apply equally to citizens’ use of the Internet as to any other walk of life. This fundamental rule of law should not be bypassed simply because it might be awkward. If legislation must be changed to keep pace with modern developments, then this may be done through the Oireachtas but any such changes must uphold that is the courts of this land that decide if somebody is guilty or not guilty of alleged wrong doing and to decide the appropriate punishment as laid down in law.

While some of our members find themselves being placed under injunctive positions in specific cases, this does not change our belief in the principles outlined above. ISPAI also wishes to reiterate its position that the recorded entertainment industry must adapt to the changing world, just as countless other businesses have done, and develop innovative business models that exploit the power of the Internet and provide more attractive services expected by their customers in the 21st century.