Eircom to block internet access to Pirate Bay as other firms refuse
By JOHN COLLINS
EIRCOM WILL block its internet customers accessing the Pirate Bay website from September 1st, but other internet service providers (ISPs) have refused a similar request from Irish record labels.
Pirate Bay (piratebay.org) is a notorious Swedish website which provides links to places where copyrighted material such as movies and music can be downloaded for free.
Under an out-of-court agreement with EMI Records, Sony Music, Universal Music and Warners in January, Eircom agreed to cut off customers found to be repeatedly downloading music illegally. The deal also required Eircom to cut off access to Pirate Bay if requested.
Yesterday, cable TV operator UPC, which has more than 120,000 broadband subscribers, announced it would not comply with a request to block access to Pirate Bay.
“Should the rights holders proceed with their threat of legal action if UPC fails to block access to Pirate Bay, UPC has every intention of vigorously defending its position in court,” it said in a statement.
The High Court had issued an order on July 24th requiring Eircom to block the site. In his written notice, Mr Justice Peter Charleton said Pirate Bay was “dedicated, on a weird ideological basis” to stealing copyrighted material.
Last night, BT Ireland confirmed that it also has refused a request from the music industry to block access to the site. A spokeswoman said the firm “believes there is no legal basis for such a request”.
Dick Doyle, of the Irish Recorded Music Association, an umbrella body for the industry, said Pirate Bay was being targeted as it was the largest abuser of copyright on the internet.
A copy of the letter sent to ISPs by Sheehy Donnelly solicitors, and seen by The Irish Times, says that courts in Denmark and the Netherlands have required blocking of the site.
The letter gives the ISPs one week to respond or face legal action.
Another Swedish company is in the process of buying Pirate Bay for about €5.8 million and says it plans to launch a legal version. An associated group, the Pirate Party, got 7.1 per cent of the vote in Sweden in the recent European elections.
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