Sky agrees to 'cease and desist' protocol to tackle music piracy

By Ann O'Loughlin

Internet service provider Sky has agreed to a "cease and desist" protocol aimed at tackling music copyright piracy, the Commercial Court heard.

The graduated response procedure involves cease and desist notices being sent to subscribers who illegally upload/download material before, on the third notice, the name and address of the person allegedly infringing copyright is supplied by the service provider to the copyright owners to bring proceedings against them for court orders terminating their internet service.

Two of the three major service providers, eir and Virgin, already have the protocol in place following a landmark High Court decision in 2015.

Sky Subscribers Services Ltd is the last of the three and last July the Irish arms of Sony, Universal and Warner music companies brought proceedings seeking similar orders against Sky.

In the Commercial Court, Jonathan Newman SC, for the music companies, said Sky had written to his side saying it was willing to put in place the graduated response protocol within a certain time frame.

Counsel said there was no appearance in court for Sky because it had indicated by letter that it was consenting to the case being admitted to the Commercial Court and to the orders being made.

Mr Newman said the graduated response method had been shown to be very effective with subscribers ending their illegal activity once they receive a second "cease and desist" letter.

As a result, so far, no subscriber has had their service terminated.

Mr Justice Robert Haughton, granting the orders sought by the music companies, noted "the big stick does the job".

Mr Newman replied that once the anonymity of the subscribers "has been punctured" that this did the job.

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