by / February 23rd, 2009 /

Illegal music sites to be blocked in Ireland

The Sunday Business Post yesterday reported that IRMA is seeking to go further in the mission to disconnect users who illegal download music with the news that the organisation plans to coerce Irish ISPs to block access to sites which facilitate illegal downloading such as The Pirate Bay. Eircom will be the first to comply with other ISPs expected to follow suit or face legal action.

According to the report, IRMA will compile a list of such music sites and will then apply for a court order requring ISPs to block access to these sites and it says:

Under the terms of an agreement between Eircom and Irma, Eircom will not oppose any court application, meaning that the orders will be automatically granted. A spokesman for Eircom confirmed that Eircom –will not oppose any application [Irma] may make seeking the blocking of access from their network” to blacklisted websites.

The rest of the country’s internet providers, which include BT, UPC (which owns NTL and Chorus) and mobile operators, have yet to respond formally. The move was disclosed in a letter sent to internet providers last week, threatening legal action if they did not comply with Irma’s demands.

If it happens (and its looking likely) it will be the first music industry-led initiative in Europe to block access to file-sharing sites.

  • Won’t work even if they get it through. They’ll start using proxys. I wouldn’t be surprised if Piratebay did something to get around it themselves. They’re pretty anarcistic.

  • I don’t know how this is going to be enforced. Forcing an ISP to block sites that are not themselves proven to be illegal to access from within Ireland cannot be legal in itself.

  • Kukakukakoo
  • The implications of this move are disastrous. Firstly this puts the likes of Eircom and IRMA in the position of judge, jury and jailer. They decide whether they think something breaches copyright and this is bound to bring even more problems. Sure, stealing music is bad but there have been much better solutions to this problem proposed by people close to the issue and by people who know what they are talking about.

    Secondly the use of filters on the ISPs network does and will slow the net down. And it is at there discretion what they block. File sharing is an important part of business nowadays. Torrents offer a great way of distributing independent work and copyright can be flexible with the use of Creative Commons licenses. Also, it is apparent that other P2P services will be (or are being) targeted. Over the weekend I was using Rapidshare to receive a Photoshop file (500MB) in 4 rar archives. My speeds on Eircom’s network were less then 10kB/s and the rest of the web was fine. It took 2 days to get them. This is bad for business.

    btw… A lot new innovations from Hollywood, to Cable TV, to the music industry itself where born from copying and in a word ‘piracy’. Piracy = The seeds of Innovation

    Bad move, bad move. Ireland is cornered by greedy idiots in suits.

    More about the Eircom story here… (and all over the web really)

    we will be talking about this soon on

    join us

  • Tom

    This is ridiculous. What next? Will we ban websites teaching people how to burn dvds? news sites that report us in a bad light? If IRMA have a problem with Pirate Bay then they should sue them. Starting blocking websites will be the beginning of censorship and the death of freedom of information on the internet.

  • I think this is just going to open the biggest can of worms imaginable.

    Banning a site for allowing some access to illegal content is, on a simplistic level, akin to banning mobile phones because people are not always using them for a proper legal purpose. Torrent sites do not host any of this content, they’re simply hosting the torrent file which will allow access to the file on other user’s computers.

    I would be curious as to how the block would work with regard to sites that aggregate torrents from the pirate bay or other sites. How does one define an illegal site? Will sites like torrentfreak or which don’t host torrent files be classified as illegal simply because they allow for discussion and linking to torrents?

    Similarly lots of torrent sites ( and to name a few) pride themselves on only allowing legal content that can’t be bought commercially. Sites like them will remove content when asked by the copyright holder. Can they be banned simply because they use the BitTorrent protocol? Will there be someone employed at eircom to monitor this watchlist of “bad” sites who gets to decide what precisely we can and can’t download?

    It’s going to be an interesting few months…

  • Well I hope the other ISPs have the balls to stand up to this. If they do they will gain a lot of new customers. Besides the rest are better and cheaper.

    Filesharing is not Piracy.

  • eoghan
  • We should probably just wrap up the internet thing. It’s obviously more trouble than it’s worth.

  • here here 😛

  • carnie

    The problem with blocking sites. Is that the ISP could easly block a normal completely legit site, which in turn would cause more headaches for eircom and the likes.. Its such a touchy area in relation to the internet cos there still isn’t any worthy technology that can do this cleanly.. That’s why child pornography sites aren’t blocked yet and i don’t know about you but i think thats a defo worse area then piracy

  • And child protection authorities don’t have six-digit legal budgets either.

  • The Go To

    I am writing a legal thesis on this very subject in a worldwide comparative. I don’t think people need to worry overly. The reaction was the same when IRMA initially tried to sue individuals. That cost them €700,000 and in return they received less than €70,000 in damages. The ISPs are trying to prevent regulation such as is being proposed in France and New Zealand. As intermediaries they do not feel obliged to protect the rights of the private individual (Art 6 & 10 ECHR) as balanced in comparison to the rights of the copyright holder. It is merely in their interest to get out of the crossfires as quickly and cheaply as possible. The problems it does pose are those of privacy issues as well as transparency. Who is in control of such a Blacklist? Without Judicial Review, one cannot have proper transparency. Eventually it may come to Regulation, which may work in favour of the user despite initial fears otherwise. The EU will have a big part to play in protecting rights over the next few years, otherwise the course of internet usage could change forever.

  • Dj Gcoke

    Fucking stupid and Ireland