Judge orders telcos to provide customer details - The Irish Time says that a High Court judge has ordered Eircom and two other internet service providers to give several music companies details of 49 subscribers whom the companies propose to sue for allegedly illegally uploading thousands of music tracks on to file sharing networks. In only the second case of its kind to date in the Irish courts, Mr Justice Peter Kelly yesterday ordered the internet service providers to disclose the names,addresses and telephone numbers of the 49 holders of the Internet Protocol numbers identified by the music companies. The judge said that illegal uploading of music from the internet was 'simply thieving'. It may be a modern form of thieving done in one's own house but it was nevertheless thieving, he said. There was evidence that what was going on was 'on a very substantial scale over a lengthy period of time'. It was clear there was 'serial' activity going on involving the uploading of a minimum of 500 to a maximum of 5,000 songs over a period of days, the judge said. This was wrongful activity not only in the civil but also in the criminal sense.

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Two major energy firms set to exit Irish market - The Irish Independent writes that Norwegian oil giant Statoil is to sell its stake in the Synergen Power Plant in Dublin and German energy giant RWE has decided to exit the gas market here. The plans by the two energy majors to leave the market are being interpreted as a massive blow to efforts to promote greater competition in the Irish energy market.  Statoil owns a 30% stake in the Synergen plant in Dublin's Ringsend, but has decided to sell up and seek growth opportunities elsewhere.  The other 70% of the profitable plant is owned by the ESB. The plant made profits of €15.7m in 2004 for its two shareholders. Commissioned in 2002, the granting of permission for the Ringsend plant was highly controversial as the ESB involvement in it was sanctioned just before the partial liberalising of the electricity market here.  Semi-state Bord Gáis is expected to be a leading contender to buy the stake. It already sells much of the electricity output from the 400 megawatt plant, which it sells on to its large industrial electricity customers.  

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BOC rejects £7bn-plus offer from German rival Linde - The London Independent says that BOC, the UK industrial gases group, revealed yesterday that it had rejected an audacious £7.6 billion takeover offer from its smaller German rival Linde that sought to create a new world leader. The move is the latest attempt by a foreign predator to buy a blue-chip British company, amid signs that some investors have become frustrated that top quality assets are being snapped up for cash by overseas groups who will then enjoy any upside available. Recent agreed deals include the foreign takeovers of the plasterboard group BPB, the ports business P&O and the mobile phone operator O2. The offer from Linde is understood to be worth about 1,500p a share in cash - a chunky 30% premium to BOC shares before the approach became public. The deal would be financed by debt, possibly accompanied by a rights issue. Linde claims to have a number of supportive banks lined up.

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Compass name in UN fraud report - The Financial Times says that a United Nations report into procurement operations at its peacekeeping missions has uncovered evidence of suspected mismanagement, favouritism and financial irregularities in relation to its dealings with several companies including a subsidiary of Compass, the troubled contract caterer. The investigation by the Office of Internal Oversight Services, the UN's internal investigative arm, examined 27 contracts worth $1 billion, or 31% of the cumulative value of all commercial contracts over $5m. As reported, it found that the world body could have lost as much as $298m in contract irregularities.