Irish ISP Eircom has now agreed to the block access to The Pirate Bay, following a demand by the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA).
The Eircom decision closely follows an agreement to adopt a three-strikes disconnection policy for infringing subscribers, part of an out-of-court settlement with the majors. Other sites deemed unsavory will also be automatically blocked by Eircom without a legal protest, based on the settlement.
Eircom is now taking anti-piracy marching orders from the majors, though the fate of other ISPs remains unclear. IRMA has threatened similar legal action for non-compliant competitors of Eircom, a group that includes BT and UPC. But those demands run completely contrary to the business interests of the ISPs, and a major legal fight could lie ahead. IRMA is allegedly pursuing blocks on hundreds of sites.
Outside of the Irish theater, ISPs worldwide are undoubtedly monitoring the situation. In New Zealand, another hotspot, lawmakers are currently debating a measure that would force ISPs to disconnect their users under a three-strikes, graduated response program. In France, a similar provision is edging towards law, though it remains unclear just how successful those programs – if implemented – would be at lessening piracy.