IRMA tries to block websites

By EDRi · March 11, 2009

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [IRMA will Webseiten sperren |]

Macedonian: [ИРМА се обидува да блокира веб-сајтови |,mk/]

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)

Lobby group calls for stop to censorship plans

Music industry pushing for internet filtering as well as “three strikes” –
what can you do about it?(26.02.2009)

Blackout Ireland

IRMA letter to ISPs (13.02.2009)

EDRI-gram: Irish ISP settled to introduce 3 strikes (11.02.2009)