I got a nice surprise from Radiohead when I checked my email this morning. It was a message thanking the fans who bought their latest album – The King of Limbs – and giving away the two tracks from Radiohead’s Record Store Day 12” Supercollider/The Butcher that was released over the weekend.
Not happy with implementing the “3 strikes” method of getting rid of customers alleged pirates announced earlier this year, Eircom has decided to bend over a bit more and go along with the music industry’s demands to block access to The Pirate Bay.
Starting today, September 1st 2009, Eircom customers can no longer access The Pirate Bay and instead, are presented with this message (body in plain text for clarity):
On the 24 July 2009, an Order was made by the High Court requiring eircom to block or otherwise disable access by its subscribers to the website ThePirateBay.org, its related domain names, IP addresses and URLs. The Court was satisfied that on the basis of the evidence presented by the record companies that the PirateBay website is a website that facilitates the exchange of copyrighted sound recordings without the consent of the copyright owners.
eircom recognises the legitimate rights of the owners of copyrighted material and believes that individuals who share or download copyrighted material without the authorisation or the permission of the copyright owner are acting illegally.
The Order further provides that should the PirateBay website content be legitimatised in the future then eircom has liberty to apply to the Court to have the Order vacated and access to the PirateBay website enabled.
eircom in compliance with the Order has agreed that access to the website the PirateBay.org, its related domain names, IP addresses and URLs from the eircom network will be blocked indefinitely from the 1st September 2009.
eircom would like to reassure customers that:
* eircom will not monitor customer’s activities at any stage, nor will it place any monitoring equipment or software on its network in order to facilitate this block.
* eircom will not provide personal details or any information relating to customers to any third party, including the record companies.
So if you’re in Ireland and your ISP is Eircom, you won’t be getting in The Pirate Bay easily (you can always use a proxy). And because I don’t like to see people being denied their share of downloadable stuff, check out this nice post with 25 Great Pirate Bay Alternatives. Although I really doubt that anyone that is tech-savvy enough to know about and use The Pirate Bay will have a hard time finding alternatives…
The rest of you need not worry, at least for now, because the other Irish ISPs ignored the threats.
One of Ireland’s biggest ISP’s, Eircom, signed an agreement with the four major record labels in which it agreed to disconnect customers if they illegally download music. This came as a result of a lawsuit initiated by EMI Ltd., Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music and Warner Music Group Inc. (via the Irish Recorded Music Association – IRMA) in which the labels wanted Eircom to install network monitoring equipment. The offenders will be given two warnings before being shut down.
So now, instead of having to go to court to get an order asking the ISP to shut off a subscriber’s connection, the music labels will directly to the ISP, making the whole process much faster. And the record companies have agreed that they will take all necessary steps to put similar agreements with other ISPs in Ireland, although there are no signs of that for now.
Now let’s be realistic. Illegal downloads will not stop. Ever! So why do they even bother? I think it’s quite easy to understand that music sales will not rise because of this. People who download illegal music wouldn’t buy it anyway, and there’s the even the chance that music downloads increase record sales. That’s what far smarter people than me have been saying for a while.
Anyway, the existence of quite a large number of alternatives might eventually make Eircom change their mind, or at least place some effort in trying to avoid shutdowns by being especially strict about the evidence presented by the labels. I guess they don’t want their customers running away to their competitors.
So much hype about this being a big thing, but I don’t think it will really make any difference.