Blackout Ireland
Blackout Ireland call for protest over threat of internet censorship by IRMA.

Blackout Ireland call for protest over threat of internet censorship by IRMA:

Inspired by New Zealand’s recent internet blackout campaign, Blackout Ireland are organising a week-long protest, starting Thursday the 5th of March, in response to the recent court settlement deal between Eircom and the four major record labels.

Blackout Ireland believe that this deal could set a dangerous precedent of  internet censorship by private companies, as it enables the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) to ban someone’s internet access without due legal process.

Under the terms of the settlement, Eircom will disconnect users suspected of illegally downloading music based on evidence supplied by IRMA and without the need for a court of law. IRMA have also revealed that they will seek to block websites such as the Pirate Bay that they suspect of providing illegal downloads. Eircom will not oppose any such action under the new deal.

According to Blackout Ireland representative, Aubrey Robinson:  “These new policies have serious implications for internet freedom, as they open the door for other private companies to obtain similar powers in dictating, without due process, who or what is permissible online”.

IRMA have sent letters to the other Irish ISPs threatening legal action if they do not agree to similar terms, a move which has prompted the week-long protest.

As part of Blackout Week, Irish internet users are being asked to blacken out their profile images on social media sites, and to email their internet service provider to voice their oppositon to the move.

Blackout Ireland are a group of Irish Internet users who are concerned by the prospect of Internet censorship in Ireland. They do not condone piracy, and believe that music companies and individuals have every right to protect their copyright material through legal means.

They stress the following points:

•    Censorship is not the solution. The music industry must find alternative means of charging for music downloads that benefit both artists and consumers without threatening internet neutrality.

•    ISPs need to remain as impartial conduits of data and must not be required to monitor or filter internet traffic.

•    Banning someone from the internet is totally disproportionate in this context. Such a penalty should only be imposed by a judge in a court of law.

•    The technology being used to track offenders is not sufficiently accurate and will lead to people being falsely accused.

•    Blocking sites and disconnecting users will not stop piracy, as Illegal downloaders will always be able to circumvent these restrictions.

More information: http://www.blackoutireland.com