Three record label giants – Warner, Universal and Sony – are taking cableco UPC Ireland to court over the illegal download of copyrighted music, Reuters reports. In a Commercial Court hearing the US-based record companies indicated that they are seeking a ‘graduated response’ – effectively a strike system whereby the offenders are firstly warned that what they are doing is illegal, secondly informed of alternative ways to access music, and thirdly disconnected – as operated by broadband provider Eircom since an out-of-court settlement agreed with the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) in 2009. In 2012 UPC followed a court order to block illegal downloading sites The Pirate Bay and KickAss, while yesterday senior counsel for the music labels, Michael McDowell, described this move as an ‘illusory remedy’, claiming that the Irish operator is facilitating ‘wholesale theft’. UPC commented: ‘As a legitimate business we are required to operate within the confines of the law and we will not enter into a voluntary arrangement that involves an ISP sanctioning customers for purportedly accessing illegal content.’ The case commenced on 13 January and is expected to last up to eight days.
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