EMI Records (Ireland) Ltd v Eircom Ltd

Judgment Date08 July 2005
Date08 July 2005
Docket Number[2005 No. 2014 P]
CourtHigh Court
[2005] IEHC 233,

High Court

[2005 No. 2014 P]
EMI Records (Ireland) Ltd. v. Eircom Ltd.
EMI Records (Ireland) Limited, Sony BMG Music Entertainment (Ireland) Limited, Universal Music Ireland Limited and Warner Music Ireland Limited
Eircom Limited and BT Communications Ireland Limited

Cases mentioned in this report:-

BMG Canada Inc. v. Doe [2005] F.C.A. 193.

Megaleasing U.K. Ltd. v. Barrett (No.2) [1993] I.L.R.M. 497.

Norwich Pharmacal v. Customs & Excise [1974] A.C. 133; [1973] 3 W.L.R. 164; [1973] 2 All E.R. 943.

Practice and procedure - Discovery - Action for discovery - Intellectual property - Infringement of copyright by unknown internet subscribers - Disclosure of names of subscribers sought from defendants - Confidentiality - Whether sufficiently clear proof of wrongdoing - Whether duty to give full information by way of discovery - Whether defendants' duty of confidentiality to subscribers overridden where prima facie evidence of wrongdoing by those subscribers.

Plenary summons

The facts are summarised in the headnote and are more fully set out in the judgment of Kelly J., infra.

By plenary summons dated the 9th June, 2005, the plaintiffs sought an order for discovery.

By order of the High Court dated the 4th July, 2005, the matter was transferred to the commercial list for hearing. The court dispensed with the delivery of pleadings and ordered that the matter proceed by way of affidavit evidence only.

The matter was heard by the High Court (Kelly J.) on the 8th July, 2005.

The plaintiffs were assigned the Irish copyright of a large number of sound recordings. Evidence was given that certain computers connected to the internet via the defendants' facilities had made available to the public a significant volume of the said sound recordings. The plaintiffs had recorded the internet protocol addresses of a number of persons alleged to have infringed their copyright and they sought the names and addresses of those persons from the defendants.

Held by the High Court (Kelly J.), in ordering that the defendants disclose to the plaintiffs the names, postal addresses and telephone numbers of certain registered owners of internet accounts, 1, that there was a prima facie demonstration of a wrongful activity, being the infringement of the plaintiffs' copyright, by the subscribers of the defendants. The court could require the disclosure of identity and other information held by a third party concerning an alleged wrongdoer to the wronged person. The identity of the subscribers was not known to the plaintiffs but was known to the defendants.

Megaleasing U.K. Ltd. v. Barrett (No. 2) [1993] I.L.R.M. 497 and Norwich Pharmacal v. Customs & Excise [1974] A.C. 133 followed. BMG Canada Inc. v. Doe [2005] F.C.A. 193 approved.

2. That a right to confidentiality, whether arising by statute, by contract or at common law, could not be relied on by a wrongdoer or a person against whom there was evidence of wrongdoing to protect his or her identity. The right to privacy or confidentiality had to give way where there was prima facie evidence of wrongdoing. The right to confidentiality could be safeguarded by undertakings given by the plaintiffs that the information disclosed would be solely used for the purpose of seeking redress in respect of the infringement of the copyright in sound recordings.

Ex tempore

Kelly J.

8th July, 2005

1 In 1973 the House...

To continue reading

Request your trial
13 cases
  • Sony Music Entertainment (Irl) Ltd and Others v UPC Communications Irl Ltd (No 1)
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 27 Marzo 2015
    ...full information and disclosing the identity of the wrongdoers" 456 234. As Kelly J. stated in EMI Records (Ireland) Ltd v. Eircom Ltd [2005] 4 IR 148 at pages 149 - 150: " That principle has been accepted as forming part of the law in a number of common law jurisdictions including this Sta......
  • Blythe v The Commissioner of an Garda Slochána
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 23 Octubre 2023
    ...was “ prima facie demonstration of wrongful activity” (citing Kelly J in EMI Records (Ireland) Limited v Eircom Limited [2005] IEHC 233, [2005] 4 IR 148) or (citing Ryan P in O'Brien v Red Flag Consulting Ltd [2017] IECA 258, at para 41(x)) “ a strong case” (§16). Here, in the Judge's view,......
  • EMI Records (Ireland) Ltd and Others v UPC Communications Ireland Ltd
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 11 Octubre 2010
    ...of infringers available - Whether defendant mere conduit - Norwich Pharmacal v Custom and Excise [1974] AC 133; EMI v Eircom Ltd [2005] 4 IR 148; BMG Canada Inc v Doe [2005] FCA 193; X v Flynn (Unrep, Costello J, 19/5/1994); In re Employment Equality Bill 1996 [1997] 2 IR 321; McGee v Att......
  • Ryanair Ltd v Unister GmbH & Aeruni GmbH
    • Ireland
    • Supreme Court
    • 13 Marzo 2013
    ...matter" before Irish courts - Effer SpA v Kantner (Case 38/81) [1982] ECR 825; EMI Records (Ireland) Ltd v Eircom Ltd [2005] IEHC 233, [2005] 4 IR 148; Norwich Pharmacal Co v Customs and Excise Commissioners [1974] AC 133; Reichert and Kockler v Dresdner Bank (Case C-261/90) [1992] ECR I- ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • The law relating to Norwich Pharmacal Orders
    • Ireland
    • Irish Judicial Studies Journal No. 1-21, January 2021
    • 1 Enero 2021
    ...required. What is required, in the words of Kelly J., as he then was, in EMI Records Ireland Limited v. Eircom Limited [2005] IEHC 233 [2005] 4 I.R. 148, is “ prima facie demonstration of wrongful activity”. Ryan P. pointed out at para. 41(x) of O’Brien [2017] IECA 258 that the plaintiff sh......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT