The major labels have launched a legal action against two Irish Internet Service Providers, including Ireland's second largest telco BT Ireland, to make them take action against illegal file-sharers on their networks.

According to the Irish Times, industry trade body the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) confirmed that it is coordinating the legal actions over illegal file-sharing.

The country's largest cable operator UPC Ireland is also being sued. BT Ireland and UPC Ireland customers are reported to be among the country's biggest users of P2P networks.

IRMA has effectively tried to enforce a "three-strikes" system in Ireland without any legislation to back up such sanctions.

Following an out-of-court settlement with Irish ISP Eircom in January, IRMA wrote to other ISPs demanding that they implement a graduated response scheme that would inform users if they are infringing copyright, cut off repeat offenders, and block Web sites that provide access to copyrighted material.

IRMA stated that Eircom has already accepted the demands and threatened legal action against other ISPs who did not introduce such measures. As previously reported, the Internet Service Providers' Association of Ireland (ISPAI) rebuffed the majors' "spurious" threats of legal action (Billboard.biz, March 19), insisting that the labels' demands could threaten users' privacy and damage Ireland's e-commerce sector.

Proceedings were issued in the High Court on Tuesday (June 23) by "EMI Records (Ireland) Limited and others" against BT Communications Ireland, and in a separate case against UPC Communications Ireland, the Irish Times reports.

Legal papers have not been served on either ISP and BT Ireland has declined to comment.

The paper quotes a UPC spokesperson as saying "UPC intends to vigorously defend its position in court," adding that "there is no basis under Irish law requiring ISPs to control, access or block the internet content its users download."

UPC proposed a "stakeholder forum" with ISPs and government but IRMA reportedly rejected the idea. IRMA has yet to respond to Billboard.biz.