An online campaign to protest against moves to block access to certain websites by Irish ISPs gets under way today.
Blackout Ireland is encouraging Irish internet users to contact their service providers and Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan to voice their opposition to the planned restrictions which are being spearheaded by the Irish Recorded Music Association
Internet users are also being asked to black out their profile pictures on social networking sites such as Twitter, Bebo, Facebook and MySpace for a week to show support for the campaign.
Irma, which represents EMI, Sony, Warners and Universal, has begun contacting ISPs asking them to sign up to an agreement similar to the one made with Eircom as part of an out of court settlement in a recent copyright infringement case. Under the
agreement, record companies will give Eircom the IP addresses of those they say are illegally uploading or downloading copyrighted works. Eircom has agreed to warn users to cease copyright infringement, and will ultimately disconnect subscribers who
ignore the warnings under a three strikes and you're out policy.
Eircom also agreed not to oppose moves by the industry group to block access to websites such as The Pirate Bay, which is the subject of court action in Sweden. The Swedish website provides links to music, films and other content that can be downloaded
by third parties. Irma is trying to get other ISPs to agree to similar measures.
Blackout Ireland says it is a group of Irish internet users concerned by the prospect of Ireland having a censored internet. We do not think private companies should be allowed dictate what websites the Irish people are allowed to visit, its
The campaign is inspired by a similar one in New Zealand.