Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Eircom to filter out pirate sites

Ireland has been suffering a bit of a copyright nightmare recently. Firstly, Eircom was sued by the music industry, and settled out of court conceding that it would implement some form of "three-strikes-and-you're-out" policy. As Sheldon from BBT would say "It is a sports analogy. Baseball to be precise".

Now it seems like Eircom will further bow down to the demands of an angry music industry by filtering out "pirate sites". This is such a far-reaching, disproportionate and blunt response that I am quite literally lost for words. It seems like the response from a panicked music industry is to revert Western ISPs to a type of totalitarian filtering state where only approved content can get through. Whatever happened to our dream of a free Internet?

What worries me the most is that strategies like these one tend to replicate across the globe. First it was New Zealand with its "guilt by accusation" legislation. Then it was Ireland thanks to a spineless Eircom. I am not a fan of slippery slope arguments, but it would not be an exaggeration to fear that something similar could happen in other countries. I am particularly concerned about potential official action following the Digital Britain report.

Here is an idea for a new business. Go somewhere sunny and set up a remote VPN company. What? Someone already wrote a book about such a thing? Drat!

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