IRMA tries to block websites
This article is also available in:
Deutsch: IRMA will Webseiten sperren
Macedonian: ИРМА се обидува да блокира веб-сајтови
IRMA, the Irish Recorded Music Association, wants to block Irish Internet users' access to certain websites. In February 2009, after having reached the deal with Eircom, the association sent letters to Irish Internet providers asking them to block the sites that it indicated, under threat of legal action.
Eircom has already agreed to a "three strikes" approach and IRMA was to take the same approach with all other Irish ISPs. In terms of the agreement, the evidence of illegal downloads will be provided by IRMA and Eircom will take action without a court hearing. Unfortunately, the agreement also means that Eircom is not to oppose any application blocking file-sharing websites from their network.
Apparently, IRMA will monitor peer-to-peer networks using DtecNet. Any allegedly suspicious IP addresses will be passed on to IRMA which will "present the evidence" to Eircom, without the necessity of a court hearing and in the absence of the accused.
"While IrelandOffline doesn't condone illegal file-sharing, this move is not a proper solution to the problem, and impedes on legal and legitimate internet access in the process," said Eamonn Wallace, spokesperson for broadband lobby group IrelandOffline.
According to Damien Mulley, former chairman of IrelandOffline, IRMA will start by blocking The Pirate Bay, then Mininova, IsoHunt, YouTube and "I don't think they'll stop there too, any site that links to The Pirate Bay and the others on the hate list will probably be added to the list too. (..) this is what it is in my view an attack on our freedom to read, our freedom to write, our freedom to move around the web".
Those who will suffer most will the users, who will be cut off based on allegations made by the association without any involvement of the court and the websites which could be blocked, based on a court hearing where they will have no say.
Blackout Ireland, a group of Irish Internet users, believes that this scheme not only is inefficient in combating piracy but it is also a serious breach of civil liberties. At the same time, blocking websites never works as pirates can easily circumvent any blockage and only legitimate users will actually suffer from it. "Censorship is not a solution. It is avoiding the issue. It does not pay artists for their work," says Blackout Ireland.
Blackout Ireland is also organizing a blackout that started on 5 March and will last for one week encouraging people to set their picture on sites like Facebook, Bebo, Twitter, MSN, etc black and to take a stand on this issue by blog posts, letters to newspapers or any form of communication.
Irish Blackout: Why Irish ISPs Should Stand with Their Customers (4.03.2009)
Blackout Ireland - Some Questions (28.02.2009)
Lobby group calls for stop to censorship plans (26.02.2009)
Music industry pushing for internet filtering as well as "three strikes" -
what can you do about it?(26.02.2009)
IRMA letter to ISPs (13.02.2009)
EDRI-gram: Irish ISP settled to introduce 3 strikes (11.02.2009)