Before the end of this month the Irish Government will introduce a very vague copyright protection law. It won’t be debated in the Dáil as it will be enacted by a ministerial order. Protection of copyright is a laudable endeavour but when so little is known about the amendment or how it’s implemented it’s impossible to figure out how it will affect us. Once IRMA get a whiff of any more power or influence you just know they’re going to abuse it! Remember the infamous “3 strikes” rule?
Before I go any further, here’s how you can help. Sign this petition or use this contact form or this list to contact your local TD to express your misgivings and anger at this law being pushed through so quickly.
From the stopsopireland.com website:
SOPA is the name of a piece of US legislation, the Stop Online Piracy Act, recently proposed in the US. It caused an Internet-wide outcry due to its far-reaching implications; way beyond simply closing access to outlaw file sharing websites, it would have enabled law enforcement to block access to entire internet domains due to infringing material posted on a single blog or webpage.
A similar proposal is about to become law in Ireland. And while 7 million Americans contacted their representatives to say No to SOPA in the US, Irish citizens will not get that chance because the new law in Ireland is not being voted on in the Oireachtas.
Instead, the law is being enacted by ministerial order. This new law will give music and movie companies the legal leverage to force Irish ISPs like UPC, Eircom and mobile networks to block access to sites suspected of having copyrighted material on them. It also means judges can order ISPs to block access to sites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter where an individual user from anywhere in the world has shared infringing material.
As I mentioned in my Wikipedia post, this law might already be illegal:
The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) delivered a landmark case for protecting free speech in the fight against online piracy. In a decision issued today on the Scarlet Extended SA v SABAM case, the Court stated that web filtering systems used to prevent illegal downloading on peer-to-peer networks was incompatible with fundamental human rights.
Minister Sean Sherlock will be on drivetime (RTE Radio 1) after 6pm this evening to talk about this law. I hope he comes to his senses.
Oh, it is very easy to bypass any spying the music and movie industries force on Irish ISPs. All you need is an encrypted tunnel to a remote host outside the country. If Irish ISPs ban users from using tools like that then you can say goodbye to a huge number of IT jobs. I rely on these tools every single day of the week to do my work.
- Ireland’s SOPA FAQ plus comments here
- An Irish SOPA: More haste, less speed?
- Boards.ie: Possible Irish SOPA Law? :/
- Stop SOPA Ireland WordPress plugin
- NoSOPAIreland on Twitter and follow the #stopsopaireland hashtag.
- SOPA, Internet regulation, and the economics of piracy
No doubt piracy is costing the content industries something—or they wouldn’t be throwing so much money at Congress in support of this kind of legislation. If we could wave a magic wand and have less piracy, obviously that would be good. But in the real world, where enforcement has direct costs to the taxpayer, regulation has costs on the industries it burdens, and the reduction in piracy they’re likely to produce is very small, it seems important to point out that the credible evidence for the magnitude of the harm is fairly thin.
On the data available so far, though, reports of the death of the industry seem much exaggerated.
Next in the firing line of laws that will limit consumer freedoms is ACTA but let’s get one bad law stopped before we move on to the next one, ok?
The image above taken from No Shit, Sherlock website. Thanks Sean Sherlock.