Lobby group calls for stop to censorship plans

26 Feb 2009

The recent agreement between Eircom and Irish music industry representatives will put “an end to uncensored internet access in Ireland”, says lobby group Ireland Offline.

The overall agreement contained a clause that Eircom would agree not to oppose any application made by the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) to block access to torrent-tracking site The Pirate Bay or similar websites.

This is of concern to non-Eircom broadband customers also, as IRMA’s solicitors last week sent a letter to most other ISPs requesting that they follow suit or have Section 40(4) of the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000 invoked against them.

Spokesperson for IrelandOffline Eamonn Wallace said: “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.”

IrelandOffline campaigns for universal and unmetered broadband access across the country. It likens this latest development in the IRMA saga to the National Broadband Scheme, which it said is a “total waste of taxpayer money” and “cannot possibly deliver on any of its promises as outlined by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.”

Wallace said of Eircom’s willingness to accept the blocking of some internet sites: “It’s yet another proposed solution that doesn’t work, and only holds back the Irish internet user.”

By Marie Boran