Pirate Party hits out at Eircom’s plan to block The Pirate Bay
The Irish branch of the European Parliament’s elected Pirate Party has expressed deep concern at Eircom’s plan to block The Pirate Bay from 1 September.
The Pirate Party made headlines when it was elected to the European Parliament in Sweden, with popular support from younger voters.
It pointed out yesterday that The Pirate bay is a website that provides listings of content hosted by people all around the world that can be searched and downloaded via peer-to-peer technology. It hosts absolutely no copyrighted material itself, only links.
The Party, which is opposed to censorship and stands for the protection of individual privacy, finds this action wholly disturbing and believes it should not go ahead.”
It says the block is as a result of pressure from IRMA (the Irish Recorded Music Association, representing the ‘big four’ major record labels).
Cable TV and broadband player UPC said it is determined to fight such pressure as there is no legal basis for it to block The Pirate Bay and the site which is about to be acquired is going to focus on providing a legal download service.
“The Party notes that there are a significant amount of independent artists and labels, in competition with those that IRMA represents, who use the Pirate Bay as a distribution platform for their work. They will be adversely affected by this block.
“The Pirate Party believes that this block will set a precedent not only for further monitoring of internet users, censorship and general debilitation of Internet services in Ireland, but also for similar action against other Irish companies providing Internet services, such as BT Ireland, Smart Telecom, Perlico and UPC (two of which have already been similarly threatened), severely damaging competition in this sector and curtailing efficient broadband rollout.
“In recent weeks, copies of the Pirate Bay have appeared at different locations all over the web. The Pirate Party wonders if blocking the website will be at all effective in a world where copies of the website can be set up in a couple of hours. When the Pirate Bay was blocked in Denmark, traffic to the website grew by 12pc.”
The Pirate Party pointed to IRMA’s use of Section 40 Sub-section 4 of the Irish Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000 in order to support its position against ISPs and said this sub-section refers to the “removal of materials”. In the case of The Pirate Bay since no copyrighted material is actually hosted there is nothing to remove.
“Also since the law specifically refers to singular works this section of the law cannot be used against an entire site or service,” the Pirate Party said.
By John Kennedy