Ireland High Court gives entertainment giants the power to disconnect whole families from the net

Mr. Justice Peter Charleton of Ireland's High Court has ruled that ISPs can and should disconnect their customers from the net on the strength of unsubstantiated accusations of copyright infringement. It's not just accused infringers to be disconnected, either — their entire families will be taken off the net.

Ireland has now joined the exclusive club of nations that treat the Internet as a trivial system for pirating movies, worthy of no special consideration. They've joined the club of nations that are willing to collectively deprive innocents of access to a single wire that delivers freedom of speech, press and assembly in order to put a few more Euros into the pockets of some of the largest corporations in the world.

The Irish Data Protection Commissioner, who asked the court to rule, did not testify in the hearing because of "concern over indemnity as to his costs." This appears to mean that his employer wouldn't pay him to show up in court, so he didn't.

That judgment has just arrived, and it pulls no punches. Mr. Justice Peter Charleton refers to illegal downloads of music and movies with a wide variety of synonyms: theft, stealing, filtering, "plague of copyright infringement." He has already approved an Eircom block of the entire Pirate Bay website.

When it comes to the actual technology involved here, the justice betrays a certain lack of confidence. "Again, reviewing the evidence that I heard in this case, it seems to operate like this," he says, trying to describe P2P technology. Or again, "As I understand the evidence that I heard…" Or again, "One can find out by looking at the IP number, I understand…"

Major labels go bragh? Irish judge allows 3 strikes

(Thanks, Arkizzle!)