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Irish ISP Eircom Blocks Sites Hosting Illegal File Sharing Links

Posted: 24th Feb, 2009 By: MarkJ
Irish ISP Eircom, though admittedly not UK related, has come up with another potential solution to the problem of illegal file sharing (P2P). The provider has reached a new settlement with EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner that involves blocking access to well know file sharing websites.

Under the new plan these sites (e.g. PirateBay), which host links to P2P torrent downloads (both legal and illegal ones), would find themselves added to an Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) style block list. Customers would then be unable to view them.

Eircom will also operate a three-strikes style system, warning those identified as having downloaded such material and then disconnecting them if the activity continues.

Here in the UK disconnection has been all but ruled out, though ISPs will shortly all be required to issue suspected abusers with warning letters. The punishment for repeat offenders remains undecided.

The move to block such sites certainly has a degree of merit, albeit in a legally grey area. If somebody reading the BBC’s website posts a comment link to an illegal torrent, which the site owner might not notice or be able to verify without committing an illegal act themselves, then should that site be banned? Where do you draw the line?
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