On 6 December 2012, the Irish recording industry issued proceedings against five Irish ISPs; UPC, Vodafone, Digiweb, Imagine and 3, seeking that the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) block subscriber access to The Pirate Bay. The proceedings are grounded on new legislation which came into force in February of this year.  The record companies were unsuccessful in obtaining such an order against UPC in 2010 based on the legislative regime at the time.

The new legislation, statutory instrument No 59/2012, The European Union (Copyright and Related rights) Regulations 2012, inserts a new Section 40(5A) into the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 and states: 

“(5A)(a) The owner of the copyright in a work may, in respect of that work, apply to the High Court for an injunction against an intermediary to whom paragraph 3 of Article 8 of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 20011 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society applies.

(b) In considering an application for an injunction under this subsection, the court shall have due regard to the rights of any person likely to be affected by virtue of the grant of any such injunction and the court shall give such directions (including, where appropriate, a direction requiring a person be notified of the application) as the court considers appropriate in all of the circumstances.”

Last Monday, the case was before Mr Justice Kelly who admitted the case into the Commercial Court on consent. An order was also made to permit the proceedings to proceed without the joinder of the relevant copyright owners of the works that the plaintiffs are the exclusive licensees in the State. Directions were provided at the hearing that enable the parties to correspond and meet in the new year to narrow issues with the matter returnable to the Court on 28 January 2013.  Matheson acts for UPC and 3 in the proceedings.