SOME INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDERS (ISPs) in Ireland have said they will block access to Bittorrent websites without court orders in advance of a case against filesharing website Kickass Torrents that is scheduled to begin at the High Court today.
Irish subsidiaries of Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music will gather at the High Court in Ireland on Monday to call for ISP blocks on Bittorrent filesharing websites as legal action recommences after demands for several ISPs to block Bittorrent tracking website The Pirate Bay earlier this year.
Now the record labels are back, and this time they're fighting to block Kickass Torrents. Several ISPs are also listed as respondents, including five of the largest broadband providers, Vodafone, UPC, O2, Digiweb and Hutchison 3G Ireland, which owns mobile operator Three.
According to the Irish Times, an ISP listed as one of the respondents in The Pirate Bay case, Imagine, is not listed in the more recent Kickass Torrents case because it gave an undertaking to the music companies to block access to Kickass Torrents if the other ISPs lose the case.
The music companies were told by other ISPs in the country, such as Eircom, that they too would follow suit and have previously promised the music industry to block access to illegal filesharing websites.
ISP UPC, which resisted similar blocking orders from the music companies, confirmed to the Irish Times that it had been served with legal papers.
"UPC declined Irma's request in pre-litigation correspondence to voluntarily block [Kickass Torrents]. Our position is that ISPs should not, on a voluntary basis, choose what can or should be consumed by internet users. Such matters are for the government or the courts to decide," the ISP's statement read.
Ireland was one of the first countries to order ISPs to block The Pirate Bay. In June, the five ISPs were ordered to block access to the website by a court order based on claims by EMI, Sony, Warner Music and Universal that they were losing money because of The Pirate Bay.
The music cartel's hope is that blocking filesharing websites at the ISP level eventually will make subscribers frustrated enough to start testing their legal, tollbooth alternatives.
Last January the music cartel - including EMI Records Ireland, Sony BMG, Universal and Warner Music - sued Ireland over its alleged failure to adopt legislation in support of aspects of EU copyright law that would protect its content. µ