Nialler9: Not just once around block
There's a pretty good chance if you're reading this that you've heard of KickAss Torrents. The Bittorrent download site has become, like The Pirate Bay before it, a target of music industry court takedowns to block Irish internet access to the site.
The Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA), the music industry body which represents the interest of major labels Sony, Universal and Warner, has asked the High Court to order internet service providers (ISPs) like UPC, Vodafone, O2 and Digiweb to block access to KickAss Torrents by their customers. The ISP Imagine is not named in the case but has promised to block the site if the other ISPs are made to do so.
Last year, IRMA succeeded in blocking The Pirate Bay, saying that access to illegal file-sharing websites costs them €20 million in revenue annually.
Because of IRMA's actions, Ireland has been one of the first countries in the world to block websites in this fashion and the case will be watched internationally by those looking to do something similar.
IRMA's thinking is understandable. By blocking access to popular sites where music can be downloaded, you make it harder for people to find what they want on illegal sites and the hope is that they turn to legal means of accessing that multimedia content.
The only problem is that blocking one website at a time doesn't actually work. It's a game of internet whack-a-mole. You can still access the Pirate Bay by using one of its mirrored URLs.
The entertainment industry continues to hold on to regional restrictions because it gives them marketing control, but the number of people becoming versed in ways to bypass those restrictions is rising, making that control slip from their grasp.
Consumers want more choice, not less. That's what the internet provides. That's why people are accessing the larger catalogue of the American Netflix or watching something they missed on BBC's iPlayer. People want convenience, choice and easy access. Technological tools giving people that are still a faster resource than court orders which take months to win.