Web Blocking's Slippery Slope: It's Never 'Just' One Site

from the thin-end-of-the-wedge dept

Even against a background of repeated attempts to censor the Net, it’s still possible to become a little complacent about some of the actions being taken by the copyright industries. For example, many people probably feel that blocking a site like The Pirate Bay isn’t really a problem because, after all, it’s just one site, right?

A post on TorrentFreak explains why that’s a dangerous attitude:

Copyright activists often warn that a ruling in one case has the potential to be leveraged elsewhere and the wedge can become thicker frighteningly quickly if issues aren’t dealt with early on. It seems that a case currently underway in Ireland involving The Pirate Bay is proving that assessment correct.

At the moment customers of the Irish ISP Eircom cannot access The Pirate Bay since an uncontested 2009 High Court ruling orders the ISP to block the site. But that’s just one ISP, some people will say, and it’s easy to switch to another. Nice try.

That’s because the recording labels want the Web block to be extended to other ISPs. Again, some might say: well, it’s still just one site. But here’s where things start to get serious. It’s not just about one site any more:

The plaintiffs (technically EMI, Ireland) have told the court that they are looking to achieve more than just a blockade of the world’s biggest torrent site. In fact, they have a list of 260 other “objectionable” websites they have identified that they would also like blocked if this attack on The Pirate Bay is a success.

What started out with Eircom agreeing to have The Pirate Bay blocked could now potentially lead to a few other Irish ISPs having to follow suit. In a worst case scenario that could play out to all ISPs having to block 260 other sites on the music industry’s hit-list. Which sites? Only they know.

And of course, if the industry manages to get the court to agree to 260 sites being blocked, you can be sure that it will be back with another few hundred, or a few thousand, at some point in the future. Because once the court rules that Web blocking is acceptable, it’s easier to go back to ask for more censorship, citing that judgement. That’s why it’s important to remember it’s never ‘just’ one Web block.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and on Google+

Filed Under: , ,
Companies: emi, the pirate bay

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Comments on “Web Blocking's Slippery Slope: It's Never 'Just' One Site”

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20 Comments
S. T. Stone says:

Re: Re:

Not really. The RIAA holds a lot of sway when it comes to copyright law — and the law itself, it seems — so it can pull this kind of crap with frightening regularity.

And this doesn?t just apply to Internet blocks. It applies to other forms of censorship.

?Oh, sure, we?ll just burn this one book??

?Yeah, don?t worry, we?ll just pull this one album off store shelves??

?Nobody?ll notice if we ban this one game??

You?ll find the road to Hell paved with good intentions, but you?ll also notice that it starts with a single brick.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Yeah, about that.

FUD is supposed to stand for “Fear Uncertainty and Doubt”. Aren’t “Uncertainty” and “Doubt” redundant in the context where FUD tends to be used?

I propose that we remove the redundancy and simply drop the last letter.

I foresee no problems whatsoever with the adoption of this acronym.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: FUD

FUD is a three pronged attack, it’s not redundant.

Instill the Fear of ‘something’ in your audience…

Make your audience Uncertain about the potential, or the consequences, or what might happen…

Make your audience Doubt their own views, knowledge, understanding based on the irrational fear and uncertainty…

It’s not about being redundant, it’s about obliterating your opponents confidence by making them doubt their own views when you have no facts on your side…

Politicians are great at spreading the FUD….

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Could be, but are you willing to bet your freedom on that belief?

The question should be: Are they getting a declaration on all of the sites in a single trial or are they having to file separate lawsuits? If it is the first one you are definately wrong. If it is the second, I say good riddance to EMI! They are already low on funds. Now they want to run up 260 trials at thousands of irish pounds each? Goodness gracious, but they are desperate and cracy enough to do it…

FUD is a double assumption so far. Educate me, will ya, so the article can be based on facts!

DannyB (profile) says:

First they came for the Pirate Bay

First they came for The Pirate Bay but I said nothing because I was not a pirate.

Then they came for sites linking to infringing content but I said nothing because didn’t use these sites.

Then they came for blogs that were critical or embarrassing to them . . .

Then they came for Google . . .

Then they wanted streamlined shutdown switches for any internet site.

Then they wanted request filtering done at the ISP before requests leave the ISP.

Then they wanted a gigantic OFF switch for the entire Internet. But by that time, nobody was able to express any complaints, and so it was made law because such a measure was so wildly popular among the people.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: First they came for the Pirate Bay

ahem

First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

Then they came for the socialists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

Then they came for me,
and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niem?ller

Anonymous Coward says:

neither the various governments nor the entertainment industries are in the least bit interested in anything bad that has already happened, is happening or will happen to privacy, freedom or human rights through censorship or any other prevention implemented. as long as it is only ‘the people’ that are affected, they think all is perfectly ok!

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