Eircom plans to cut consumers off from the Internet if they are found guilty of piracy, as part of a crackdown in the Republic of Ireland.
Ireland’s largest ISP has started sending letters to customers accused by the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) of illegal sharing files, after the country became the first in Europe to instigate a three-strikes rule for copyright breaches.
If the letter is ignored, users will receive a follow-up phone call, which comprises strike two in process.
Customers who continue to be flagged by IRMA after that will be cut off for a week, and those who push the boundaries will be cut off for a year, the BBC reports.
Around 50 users are being identified by the process each week.
Lifetime bans could be introduced when the effectiveness of the pilot scheme is assessed in three months time.
Despite the tough-line, IRMA’s director general Dick Doyle says he doesn’t expect most users to reach the third-strike, telling the BBC “we are a long way from suspensions.”
Although Ireland is the first country to take action over illegal file sharing, a similar three-strikes law was passed by the French government last year, with the UK government following suit in April.
The UK’s Open Rights Group, which was heavily critical of the UK’s decision, said any moves by ISPs to cut users off “are very open to challenge, as they represent an attack on fundamental freedoms without any due process at all.”
However, the group acknowledged the situation in the UK is “not directly comparable,” with Ireland.