EMI, Sony, Warner Music and Universal won a court case against UPC, Imagine, Vodafone, Digiweb, Hutchison 3G Ltd and Telefonica O2 Ireland Ltd forcing them to block access to PirateBay websites within 30 days (Eircom had already given in years ago). www.rte.ie/news/business/2013/0612/456177-pirate-bay-court/ This is the first time – but won’t be the last time – when the Irish SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) legislation that thanks to Junior Minister Sean Sherlock and the current Fine Gael government will bring various forms of Internet censorship to Ireland.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not in favour of Copyright Infringement and Online Piracy. It is illegal and therefore its status is clear. However, ThePirateBay.org does not provide illegal content, it is just a listing or linking site (not much different than Google in its concept). And blocking access to it, is not much different than blocking access to websites that list organisations that the government of the day does not like.If that was something we heard about from China, we would all be in uproar about the oppressive government.

Find out more about the law that is used to force the Internet block here www.stopsopaireland.com/#3 Worryingly, the same law can be used to block complete access to Facebook, YouTube and all other similar websites if ANYBODY from ANYWHERE in the world ever posted material on these platforms that infringes any copyright. Is the Chinese situation now that far fetched?

What does the ruling mean for you? If you use any of the listed providers for Internet connectivity, you will soon not be able to reach the Pirate Bay website anymore if you are a normal Internet user. However, the decentralised structure of the Internet will mean that a total block is close to impossible for people “in the know”.

And there is another interesting side-effect: The National Broadband Plan in Ireland for which your taxpayer money is used, is TOTALLY overspec’d now. Because 99% of users will never be able to use their super-high-bandwidth Internet connection to the max, if they don’t use it to download illegal material.