The recently published court decision upholding the “mere conduit” status of ISPAI member UPC Ireland as a provider of Internet access services is welcomed by the ISPAI.
ISPAI does not in any way condone the misuse of ISP’s Internet services by persons to obtain copyrighted works for free. This is reflected within the acceptable usage policies in members’ contracts with customers. ISPs do not control what data is available to customers on the Internet and ISPs must respect the privacy of the content of their customers’ communications which pass over our networks. Indeed ISPs throughout Europe often offer legal music services to their customers through their service portals.
The Court decision upholds the ISPAI view that there is no legal basis under Irish law that requires an ISP to monitor or block subscriber traffic or undertake actions leading to the disconnection of subscribers on allegations made by private bodies. We firmly believe this is also the case in European Law as it applies to this issue. Claims of infringement by rights owners must be taken against those responsible for the infringement – not ISPs that are legitimate businesses – and these allegations must be subject to due judicial process. ISPAI members respect court orders so made to release subscriber names and addresses to the court so proceedings may be pursued.
The Internet has changed the business world for ever. This fact has been embraced by governments and countless other industries in the provision of their services. ISPAI believes the recording industry must also move to embrace this changed world. This is the kind of evolutionary change that other entertainment businesses had to accept when recording technology changed the music world for ever in the early 20th century.