South Korea, Ireland and, errm Hull, take action over illegal downloads

August 2009


South Korea has passed new legislation setting up a ‘three strikes’ copyright law within a summary trial based system which has prompted Google to forbid uploading any music to blogs in the country for fear of running foul of an incredibly, broadly-worded law which includes unintentional downloading – a number of social networking sites are also warning their users not to do anything that might potentially infringe and fall foul of the system. In Ireland Eircom, the largest Internet service provider (ISP), will be rolling out a trial phase of a new “three strikes and you’re out” approach to first delay, and then deny, Internet service to people who use filesharing networks to illegally download music. First-time offenders will get a warning on their bill; a second offence will see service “throttled,” which means that download speeds will be reduced to a snail’s pace, and a third offence will cause disconnection. It had seemed that Ireland was first in reaching a voluntary agreement and not requiring that an ISP have a court order to disconnect but then the BBC Radio Humberside revealed that that Karoo, the sole ISP in the British city of Hull had unilaterally announced their own internet cut off policy for copyright infringers. Whilst both the Korean and Eircom announcements provoked generally angry responses from bloggers and fileswappers alike, in Hull consumer groups have commented on the competition law and consumer rights issues – Kingston Communication’s Karoo is the sole broadband provider (BT do not provide broadband in the city and the only alternative is mobile broadband) so customers have no choice but to conform with their policy – whether or not it is ‘right’ with the laws of the UK and Europe. Karoo are apparently modifying their current policies.

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