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Record companies to target 20 more pirate sites after court ruling

UP to 20 internet sites are to be targeted by an organisation representing record companies in a move to stamp out the illegal pirating of music and other copyright material.

The Irish Recorded Music Association (IRMA) said it would be immediately moving against the 20 "worst offenders" to "take out" internet sites involved in the illegal downloading of copyright work.

The warning followed a High Court ruling yesterday which ordered six internet service providers (ISPs) to block access by subscribers to various Pirate Bay websites within 30 days.

The ruling is aimed at blocking illegal downloading of music and other material.

About 200,000 Irish users, some 8pc of all internet users here, access the Pirate Bay sites monthly, and illegal file-sharing is devastating sales of music, film and TV here with serious consequences for artists, record companies, retailers and employment, it was claimed.

EMI, Sony, Warner Music and Universal had alleged the Pirate Bay activities were causing them €20m in losses annually and sought the orders against UPC, Imagine, Vodafone, Digiweb, Hutchison 3G Ltd and Telefonica O2 Ireland Ltd.

Eircom has already voluntarily blocked access to Pirate Bay, and the companies claimed a new regulation means other ISPs must do the same.

Last night IRMA director general, Dick Doyle said the High Court ruling was only the first step in "taking out many internet sites involved in illegally downloading music.

"We will be back in court very shortly to take out five to 10 other sites. We have already selected a total of 20 of the worst offender sites and we will go after the next five in the very near future," he said.

The defendants in yesterday's court action effectively adopted a neutral stance to the application but some raised issues, including alleging overblocking could affect legitimate sites.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Brian McGovern said he was satisfied to make the order blocking Pirate Bay in circumstances including that new copyright laws here and in the EU permitted such orders to be made.

The record companies claimed the Pirate Bay sites hold a vast directory of copyright material being made available to millions around the world.

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