Last month, Eircom reached an agreement with the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) to disconnect internet customers who continued to download copyrighted music after three warnings.
In a joint statement, both sides said they agreed on the three strikes approach to end ‘the abuse of the internet by P2P (peer to peer) copyright infringers.’
This is fair enough on the face of it. Not everyone who uses P2P is looking for the latest U2 album. For some, P2P is an efficient way to get the latest linux distro or open licence digital media, and the IRMA deal, we were told, would only target copyright violators.
At the time, I noted there were several ways to get past IRMA netcops.
‘Ultimately, will ISPs like Eircom start looking at heavy bandwidth users?’ I asked. ‘And when that happens, how can it tell my legal downloads from a download IRMA disapproves of?’
Yesterday, I got the answer. Eircom intends simply to block access to sites IRMA doesn’t like.
Apparently this means The Pirate Bay and ‘similar websites’.
Effectively, everyone using P2P is assumed to be a criminal.
And as Damien Mulley points out, once site blocking begins, where does it end? Youtube? Google?
There is a flaw in this semi-hysterical reaction to what is, admittedly, a ham-fisted approach by Eircom.
The flaw is to assume that court orders will be “automatically granted” (as the SBP article puts it), or that those affected, whether website operators or internet users, will be forced to passively accept any such moves.
We shall see. But if a judge is told that IRMA wants an order, and that eircom do not oppose a request, what’s to stop the m’lud going along?
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