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Irish digital rights group criticizes top music labels

The group says ISPs are not responsible for copyright violations committed by users.

A digital rights group in Ireland condemned legal action taken by the major music labels against an Irish ISP.

Lobby group Digital Rights Ireland warned that attempts by the four largest music labels to hold ISPs accountable for copyright violations committed by users threatens privacy, and Ireland's reputation as an "Internet-friendly country," according to a story on

"Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are intermediaries. They are not, in law, responsible for what Internet users do, any more than An Post is responsible for what individuals send in the mail," Digital Rights Ireland chairman, TJ McIntyre, told the online publication.

Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and EMI Group brought legal action against Eircom, the largest telecommmunications operator in the Republic of Ireland, according to the report by Siliconrepublic.

The labels claim that the ISP has refused to implement a filtering technology by Audible Magic that would block illegal file sharing. McIntyre argued that the content filter would erode privacy of Eircom users.

The idea of requiring ISP's to filter has picked up steam in recent months. Most notably, the manager of rock group U2, called for ISPs to more aggressively scrub copyright-infringing content from their networks.

While Europe has taken more of a regulatory approach, in the U.S. there is a Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which proponents say relieves ISPs from responsibility for copyright violations by users.