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back to article Eircom to block Pirate Bay

Eircom, Ireland's biggest internet provider, has agreed to block access to any website the music industry says is responsible for illegal music-swapping. In a letter sent to ISPs across the country last week, the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) disclosed the deal and warned others to follow suit or face legal action. …

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As the old saying goes...

... the Internet see censorship as corruption and works around it

To our Irish cousins, the phrase you need to Google is 'proxy server'. That is all.

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Have these people...

never heard of proxies?

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Stop

Muppets!

If state run censorship (examples of which are net filters as proposed in UK & AU) is considered as a pretty bad thing by most ppl and needs a firm democratic process, and a subsequent law, I think that we are looking at an illegal situation.

Pity that Eircom apparently has not been willing to take it to the courts, if not the Irish than the EU courts.

What's next, the fast food industry ordering the providers to block nutritional websites because it hampers their sales?

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Jobs Horns

Hope this doesn't come to the UK

First Ireland, soon UK?

Usually after this , all the other companies follow on. I certainly hope a UK ISP doesn't adopt this policy, because others will almost certainly follow on especially with the record companies taking out lawsuits! Do they not know that torrent sites and "illegal" music sharing sites are not just for "Illegal" sharing, there's alot of open source content and Creative Commons licensed works on these websites.

Absolutely Terrible.

Steve represents the Music industry in general (with iTunes and the like) , Evil Steve = Evil Music Industry

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Oh dear

Eircom could be losing a few customers then.

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Abandon Ship Ye scurvy sea biscuit!!

Eircom in dwindling subscription mystery.......

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Alert

But is it really Internet?

As a customer, I would be arguing that an Internet service with forced (non government mandated) filtering is not in fact the Internet that I'm paying for, and that they are breaking the contract that I made with them (were I an existing customer, or they failed to document this in future contracts).. I'm not sure about the law in Ireland, but in Australia, consumers would then have (at least) the right to break the contract early without penalty.

If consumers let an ISP get away with this, you will effectively be rewarding them financially for introducing censorship (since they will experience reduced traffic because average Joe doesn't know how to get around the filtering).

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Right..

"IRMA - which represents the "big four" labels; EMI, Sony-BMG, Universal and Warner - will compile a list of websites the group claims harbors illegal music sharing."

So, we shall expect to see Google, Yahoo, Ask.com etc on these lists will we? Because funnily enough, If I type "free music torrents" or any variation of that into any of those search engines, I can be taken to a place where I can locate and download copyrighted music, for..... FREE... (much to my delight) and that is somehow different?

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Censorship ..

now begins. How can they blacklist a site that contains legal links as well? Big Money Big Brother

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How much you want to bet...

...that RIAAradar is next on the list?

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Flame

But meanwhile..

the Swedish prosecutor has amended the charges so they only cover the torrent file and not the copyrighted download ???

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Fuckwits

I switched to BTIreland a while back. Some problems with the line being dropped every now and again and not automatically re-establishing the link but I don't give a toss because 24MBit is good 1.5MB/sec downloads of a CD in 5 minutes makes me happy. Eircom are a bunch of fucking weasel bastards they already route all Irish telecoms through to GHCQ, this latest atrocity is the final straw.

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Kick them where it hurts

I am no friend of the file sharers, who lets face it leech bandwidth off everyone else, but in order to stave off threats of legal action of questionable validity from the music industry, Irish ISPs are going to defraud their entire user base instead. People pay for internet connectivity, not access to a restricted internet subset. It will be interesting to see how long this lasts one there are a few cases over the failure to provide the services actually contracted for.

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So, sucks to be Irish

Then again, what's new?

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Anonymous Coward

Pirate Bay to sue Eircom?

So if PB win the legal action currently in progress could they sue Eircom?

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Looks like I'm going to need...

... an new ISP. Fuck Eircom and their spineless fucking leadership. Plenty of other ISPs.

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Jobs Halo

@Aaron Singh

"Steve represents the Music industry in general (with iTunes and the like) , Evil Steve = Evil Music Industry"

Utter tosh, old lad.

You DO however, get the prize for the biggest load of absolute bollocks so far this year.

Well done/

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Black Helicopters

Proxies?

Don't even represent a problem... "If you don't use our proxy you don't get routed out of our network". Works just fine on a national level too. Look, if the government really wants to stop you they can...

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@Hallainzil

Won't work. IRMA's trying to force ALL Irish ISPs to comply with the simple but effective threat: "Toe the line or we'll sue your unmentionables off, both civilly and (because they're getting the courts to impose the orders) criminally."

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Joke

Eh... Don't think so.

Having had the misfortune to be an Eircom customer in the past this doesn't surprise me. Under Eircom Ireland have enjoyed some of the highest call charges in Europe and up until recently the poorest broadband saturation in the EU.

I don't think this move by IRMA will have a long lasting affect. By their logic every search engine should also be blocked. People will either defect to other ISPs or come up with a work around [a la TOR / Proxy Servers] . PB are hardly the only indexing site out there.

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Anonymous Coward

Other ISPs in Ireland

Most ISPs in Ireland all connect up to Eircom at some point as 90% of the infrastructure is Eircom based. There are some that are not, Magnet Networks for example.

As for blocking sites, need we point out the TPB does not actually host anything bar torrent files? Once again Eircom showing lack of knowledge.

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Pirate

@JimC

eh? read-up on proxies first then come back here to comment. You're not seriously suggesting the ISP would restrict all internet access to its customers through their own proxy and then take further steps to prevent daisy-chaining proxies??? As many people around the world prove everyday the government can't really stop you doing anything.

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Black Helicopters

Bastards!

This is a violation of civil rights and a blow to free speech and democracy. There is no way they can justify such an action. None of the sites they are banning are illegal. A torrent is not illegal, so banning a site just because someone can post a torrent of an alleged illegal file is utter bollocks.

Considering the tech guys in ISP's are the biggest warez and porn addicts in the world, I find this quite ironic in some respects.

Anyway.. Stop the planet... I want to get off.

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Pirate

RIP Eircom

Rest in Peace Eircom...your customers would be mad not to jump ship!

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Jim
Jobs Horns

@ Ted Treen

So Sorry, but I've got to toss another in the Steve = EVIL column.

Had a bit of a problem with my Itunes library files (apps only, no music) and wanted to download the whole thing again. Can't. So I popped off a message about the problem to Apple's own support form and waited to hear back.

*crickets*

More than a week later, I get a bloody SURVEY asking how my support experience suited me.

Not well, I'd wager! I asked for support, and Steve's minions didn't answer b/c I didn't desire to simply re-buy all my already-paid-for (they were all free) apps? Bugger off then! See if I buy any more from CRapple.

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@JimC

Except it doesn't. Even China, where they do try this on a national level (the "Great Firewall of China" forces all outbound connections through censorship boxes, which forge a connection reset if they see content or sites they don't like).. if a site doesn't load, people "know" they aren't supposed to go there. But there's trivial ways around it. If a gov't really wants to stop you, they still can't.

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replies...

@ JimC:

Proxies are just the beginning of ways to get around blocks. Any ISP which requires you to use their proxy these days is hardly an ISP at all, since so many protocols just don't work like that. You'd be blocking all online gaming for one thing. And unless an ISP / government started whitelisting hosts / domains as being OK to access, it'd still be relatively easy (not free) to get yourself a VPN to a nicer country. And then you've got all sorts of clandestine tunneling and protocol obfuscation to look at.

@ the spectacularly refined chap

File sharers actually pay for their internet access most of the time. Unless you've let one of them steal your wifi, then you're paying for your internet connection and they're paying for theirs. It's the ISP's buisness how to charge for it, and you can bet they'd charge you just the same whether theri network was at 3% utilization or 90%. You're the kind of person that'd probably be in favor of pay-per-use tiered access, but even those plans would end up costing more for you, even to get the lowest tier. You're getting cheated by your ISP, and file sharers have nothing to do with that.

You have to wonder whether this ISP will be like the rest and just drop blocked sites from their DNS. We all know how easy that sort of thing is to foil.

One of these days I'll get around to deploying a nice little dark net and all these silly little ISP / Government problems will go away.

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Strange

"IRMA - which represents the "big four" labels; EMI, Sony-BMG, Universal and Warner"

Didn't think any of those were Irish. Shouldn't that read something like "IRMA - which protects the interests in Ireland of grasping foreign corporations with an obsolete business model"?

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Tom
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I wonder...

... how big the back-hander needed to be to allow the recording mafia the right to block any website they see fit.

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Reality check

<<...disconnect customers repeatedly accused...>>

Accused? Surely you mean guilty? Or, have we gone to far already? OK, J'accuse RIAA of hacking into people's computers to check for downloads. Therefore, their ISP has to shut 'em down.

No sweat??

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Fantastic News!

I, for one, am delighted with this development.

Getting rid of p2p traffic will reduce network load by 95%, and eircom will immediately pass the savings on as a 95% reduction in broadband charges.

Won't they?

*tumbleweed*

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Joke

Stupid, and dangerous

I can't believe this is happening in a country which is believed not to be very much corrupted, and believed to be democratic also.

Private organisations with narrow commercial interests will now decide what content to allow, what not to allow, and also will decide if citizens will have access to the Internet or not, if they decide to issue 3 warnings and then cut the line. No courts needed to diconnect the Internet (and this rule will expand to electricity also, if the electricity was used for TV that was used to watch illegal movies more than 3 times). I cant believe this is happening in EU country!

If courts and legal system are not needed anymore, then I issue the new Internet Freedom Law effective immediatelly: each thinking citizen of the Republic of Ireland must throw 1 (one) penalty stone into Eircom management windows for each 1 (one) day of Internet censorship applied to that citizen. No courts needed to enable this "equal legal level response" behaviour, because the decision where stones must fly are based on the recommendations from my commercial advisors (not yours).

Seriously, I suggest all customers must leave such an "Internet provider" as fast as they can, and as soon as TPB is blocked, stop to pay for the service and register the Internet problem, because then the service is not provided. It is completely legal to read the TPB legal news web page and if its not displayed then there is no Internet service, give the money back or return the service.

Competitors must be happy to use such a mistakes of the rival.

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Anonymous Coward

other news

the iwf are fighting back: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/technology/2009/02/can_we_block_child_abuse_sites.html

apparently zen aren't blocking kiddie porn - be interesting to see how that plays out. Ripping off multinationals is one thing..

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Well, thats one way to get your costs down.

Interesting way of cutting costs - annoy the customers who use your service and stick with it during a downturn.

Its one thing to roll over and play dead, its another to commit sepuku.

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Pirate

re: Proxies?

Of course it is possible to block access to a large degree. The problem is that you will certainly really annoy a lot of people and break a lot of things you didn't intend to.

Law rarely works when it doesn't have at least the passive support of the people being governed.

ISPs really need to look away from phorm and hold up their "common-carrier" shield. Do telco's get sued for providing telephones to drug trafficers or fraudsters? These people do much more harm than any file-sharer, but no-one suggests holding the telco's responsible for drug-deals. That's even for criminal acts rather than civil-law disputes.

ISPs don't "host" data which is held on customers' equipment, that is hosted on, well, customers' equipment. Even the ISP-assigned IP address is rarely on a device holding infringing data. Any infringing data has to cross the customer's network, the border gateway and the telco WAN-link before it even begins to traverse the ISP's own devices.

I'm afraid that if your business model depends on getting non-customers to stop doing something, you've got serious problems far beyond what this action will fix, even if its successful. You can't distribute a digital product and expect that other people won't do the same. The days of monopoly based on the distribution of digital media are over.

Perhaps the solution is for the big labels to stop milking the cash-cow by forcing co-writing etc, as described in previous Reg articles and concentrate on investing in quality. Piracy is rife in the computer games industry, but people still pay big money for games because they perceive value in them and want to support the games studios. You have to ask why the same people don't perceive value in the music industry's product. Maybe its because the product is a bit rubbish.

When was the last time we saw a new band like Dire Straits or Foreigner? Most of the male singers these days sound as though they are in excruciating pain and are trying to share it. The female singers are uniformly good in the audio and visual departments. They are just all rather uniform in general. Since the money is in the song-writing rather than performing, making sure they only do cover-songs may be profitable for Idol, but the audience has been trained to bore of them very quickly. People buy whatever is sold to them, so there is an expensive media blitz to sell as much as possible very quickly, but as soon as sales begin to tail-off, a new new product has to be found.

And then there are computer games. These suck out disposable income like never before, not only in direct sales of the games but in frequent hardware upgrades. Add in group-gaming and music interferes with rather than enriches free-time activities. What if Blizzard's customers are those who are file-sharing? If Blizzard starts losing a lot of customers because of music industry action, the music industry is going to be in for a fight it simply doesn't have the financial muscle to win.

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Unhappy

The alternative ISP is crap also

The problem is that the only other big operator (of which I am aware) that can challenge Eircom in the broadband market is the cable company NTL/Chorus (owned by UPC), which is probably the most inefficient company in the country. They spend so much time trying to sign up people to their services that they neglect their current subscribers and have horrendous customer service.

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Pirate

Censorship = Death of the Internet

If the severely corrupt Music Industry officials get their own way and start "banning" whatever websites they see fit, where will this all end?

Even worse, the "rules" of this new game are designed so the ISP is unable to question these demands then its even more grim than you can imagine. But wait its too early for April Fool....?

Whether you are for _or_ against the "root cause" this is REALLY BAD NEWS...

I predict hundreds (if not thousands) of websites being blocked BUT WHERE DOES IT END?

What next? Copyright recipe pages being blocked? News Articles about the Music Industrys dirty tactics being removed? Forums being closed down that mention/link to these websites

Maybe they will BAN TheReg for being critical and spelling out the obvious that the horse has bolted and no matter how many times you lock and relock the stable door the horse has GONE FOREVER. In the UK they closed ZAVVI because when people have no money they think Hmm buy CD's or buy FOOD today?

IF MY ISP bans anything the only thing I will surely do is PESTER them till ETERNITY on their help desk saying bannedwebsite.com doesnt work, its broken, raise me a ticket, Im not hanging up till its fixed... waste so much call centre time by ringing up every day they wont be able to cope.

Failing that drop the scumbag censoring ISP and go with ANYONE else who doesnt censor even if it means paying more.

We cannot let this happen under ANY circumstances, this ISNT about filesharing its about parts of the internet being switched off willy nilly without any accountability whatsoever.

If these corrupt Music scumbags can switch off sites who else? There aint gona be much internet left to look at in years to come.....

It is for this reason why I find their censorship actions so apalling.

If these 1000's of so called "illegal" websites are illegal then SUE them ALL.

But the thing is, most are NOT illegal because theyre still up.... and up legally from what I can tell....

Dirty bastard tactics by dirty bastards.

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Joke

What's the big deal?

You've already got the the CP blacklist? What's the harm in throwing a few more addys on there? It's for a good cause, I mean Torrents are "potentially illegal" too, right?

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rob

Ahh let's see what happens after The Pirate Bay win their case

So when TPB win their court case and are found to be operating legally under Swedish (and EU law?) then can we file a class action suit against the fatcats at the record labels, for the following actions

1. Harassment of individuals

2. Defamation

3. Harassment of ISPs

4. Making threats

I can't wait!

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Dead Vulture

Scene form an eircom server room

*crickets*

*tumbleweed*

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Unhappy

Thanks, Ireland,

for testing this nonsense first. I sincerely hope you manage to put Eirecom out of business along with any politicians who didn't immediately take steps to protect your interests over the RIAA's.

If it's a big enough fiasco, hopefully Australia's censorship zealots will take note and piss off back to their spider holes before they, too, do something equally stupid.

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Pirate

cretins, the lot of them

I vote we fire the whole lot of them and put Bono in charge.

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Anti-competitive?

No new startups with a new distribution model then.

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Anonymous Coward

hang on !!

who cares about messy proxies !!!

Mirror sites ftw

And anyway i still dont get why people are still using p2p to download stuff. much faster using rs mu etc etc

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Legality

Is this legal?

As others have said, I'm paying for an internet connection- that's what the I in ISP stands for, for crying out loud!

So give it a couple of months and I'll be restrictred from NNTP, IRC, P2P, vast swarthes of the WWW and probably non-standard email servers "to help stop spam".

A philosophical question: When you start cutting "live" chunks out of the Internet, when does it stop being The Internet?

The answer is as soon as the first byte is blocked it's not. Legally shut down, fair enough- they did something illegal enough to get shut down. They can stay shut down or can move somewhere where it's legal. But nothing should be blocked.

When they start blocking websites and protocols, surely that makes it more "The Tiscalinternet" or whatever- a vendor-specific implementation of parts of the whole package?

We need a lawyer's advice now, damnit!

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Anonymous Coward

Back on Planet Earth

While I don't think the blocking of access to sites is a good thing, I can't get over the people here who think it's their right to break the law.

Downloading copyrighted material you don't already own a copy of is ILLEGAL.

When was the last time a car manufacturer was taken to court for producing a car that can exceed 70MPH. Just because they provide the facility doesn't make it better. The government install speed cameras and Police, and we all take our chances when we choose to BREAK THE LAW.

Eircom, RIAA, etc will soon discover the futility of their actions. There will always be a cat and mouse to break the rules. Get over it, and get on with it. The life of Bittorrent in it's current incarnation may be limited, but it will be re-born to get round the rules.

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Led by the nose

So it's the 'music' companies that say which sites to ban - on their say so.

The music companies already (try to) dictate what we should be buying, nothing to do with music just money - if they didn't we wouldn't get the Brits and bloody Duffy shoved up our noses.

Nah, it's merely them trying to maximise profits by flogging the same old dead horses like U2.

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Black Helicopters

It might stop the odd noob

But I'm sure TPB will do a range of domains with a range of IP's as they have in the past, they probably have greater resources (technical as well as monetary) than Errrrr-com anyway!

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