Irish ISPs to block music-sharing websites

Written by Ben Hardwidge

February 23, 2009 // 10:55 a.m.

Tags: #association #bay #block #disconnect #eircom #eire #ireland #irish #irma #isp #music #pirate #recorded #sharing #sites #trial #websites

Undeterred by the recent theatrics surrounding the Pirate Bay trial in Sweden, which is looking increasingly like it’s going to rule in favour of the torrent-listing site, the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) is now threatening ISPs with legal action if they don’t block access to sites such as this.

According to Ireland’s Sunday Business Post, IRMA has already reached an agreement with Eire’s largest ISP, Eircom, under which the ISP will block websites that allow free access to copyright music files. IRMA has also instructed other ISPs in the country to follow suit or face legal action. The site also points out that if IRMA is successful in this initiative, then it would be the ‘first European country to completely block access to hundreds of file-sharing websites.’

According to the site, IRMA is currently compiling a list of offending websites that will face the block, the first of which will be the infamous Pirate Bay. The site says that once an offending site has been identified, IRMA will then apply for a court order that requires the country’s ISPs to block access to it.

Defending its position on piracy, IRMA says that ‘music Piracy is a 5 billion dollar worldwide problem. It rears its ugly head everywhere, often completely ruining the livelihoods of performers and people working in the music industry. Ireland, with its rich musical tradition, is also a lucrative market for piracy, with music industry losses running to €3.8 million annually, this figure increases to €63.5 million when pirated software and videos are included.’ IRMA is a non-profit organisation created by record companies and other companies associated with the music industry in Ireland, and it has the goal of 'protecting the welfare and interests' of its members.

In January, IRMA also initiated a scheme to ban pirates by identifying the IP addresses of people downloading copyright works via P2P networks, and then passing the information onto Eircom. The ISP would then send a letter out to the offending broadband subscriber telling them to stop or face disconnection, and then disconnect them in the case of noncompliance.

Is blocking websites the right way to go about stopping piracy, and would it actually help the record industry sell more music? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.
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