Will BitTorrent be blocked by ISPs?
If the forces representing the music industry have their way, that will be the case. In its latest push against P2P, the music industry is demanding that Internet service providers block all torrent-based file sharing sites.
Last month, Irish ISP Eircom announced that it wouldn't block any sites, but it would actively disconnect users it suspected of sharing copyrighted material. This isn't enough, however, as the music reps are demanding that it also block a list of P2P sites. According to TorrentFreak, Eircom and the Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA), the ISP will be 100 percent compliant with any P2P website blockage that IRMA requests. IRMA represents the "Big Four" record labels (EMI, Sony BMG, Universal and Warner), who control 90 percent of the music market on the Emerald Isle.
The music industry and IRMA are using Eircom as an example for all other Irish ISPs. “We don’t support illegal activity on our network but this is an unprecedented agreement," said a spokesman for BitBuzz, an Irish Wi-Fi service. “Is the music industry planning to become Ireland’s de facto internet censor?”
First in the crosshairs for IRMA and the music industry? The Pirate Bay. The popular P2P site is currently fighting the good fight in a Swedish court, and has already been blocked in Denmark. If this agreement between IRMA and Eircom stands, then Ireland will be next. If the music industry succeeds across the pond, or even if they don't, you can bet the farm that the same sort of tactics will come stateside.
In other P2P news, the FBI recently tracked down two individuals who are suspected of uploading movie files originally meant to be Oscar screeners. Derek Hawthorne and Owen Moody, who may or may not have uploaded copies of Australia, Benjamin Button and Slumdog Millionaire to various torrent trackers, face up to three years in jail and $250,000 in fines if convicted. The feds have contacted the California residents and asked that they turn themselves in at some point this week.