Ireland Signs Controversial 'Irish SOPA' Into Law; Kicks Off New Censorship Regime

from the block-block-block dept

Remember how EMI sued the Irish government for failing to pass a SOPA-like law that will force ISPs to act as copyright cops and censor and block access to websites that the entertainment industry doesn't like? Well, apparently, the end result is that the Irish government has now signed the bill into law. This happened despite widespread protests in Ireland against the bill.

The Irish Minister for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock, is insisting that the final version of the bill is much more limited than earlier proposals, and that it took guidance from recent EU Court of Justice rulings that say ISPs shouldn't have to be proactive about blocking. That still means that copyright holders can petition to force ISPs to block all access to various websites, and as we've seen in other countries in Europe, you can bet that the major record labels and studios will be doing just that very soon (if they haven't already) -- though their track record on properly calling out infringement isn't very good.

Sherlock, apparently realizing just how bad this looks to the citizenry, is trying to balance this announcement out by also saying that he's launching the "next stage" of the process to review copyright in Ireland, with the goal of "removing barriers to innovation." This is an ongoing process that we first wrote about last year, when the country realized that existing copyright law was holding back innovation.

Of course, the end result is that the government appears to be trying to move in two different directions at once. On the one hand, it's catering to the legacy entertainment industry interests and hindering the internet as the platform that enables new business models... while at the same time paying lip service to how it has to increase such innovation. Here's a tip: the first thing towards increasing innovation in business models online is not putting misplaced liability on service providers, not setting up a censorship regime, and not removing the incentives for the entertainment industry to actually embrace innovative business models.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Arthur (profile), Feb 29th, 2012 @ 4:34pm

    Typical legislation sequence

    1. Pass draconian law to censor the Internet.
    2. Promise to study what to do about the Internet.
    3. If any studies happen to get done, ignore.
    4. Repeat.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Zos (profile), Feb 29th, 2012 @ 4:40pm

    Re: Typical legislation sequence

    it worked so well with drugs, why change?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Feb 29th, 2012 @ 4:40pm

    Paul MacGuiness must be off congratulating himself right now. And I would imagine the process is just as dirty as I think it sounds.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    icon
    PlagueSD (profile), Feb 29th, 2012 @ 4:48pm

    Re: Typical legislation sequence

    You're doing it wrong. The correct internet meme is:

    1. Pass draconian law to censor the Internet.
    2. Promise to study what to do about the Internet.
    3. ...
    4. profit!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    bob, Feb 29th, 2012 @ 4:59pm

    Putting up a paywall is an innovative business model

    You said so yourself. We've tried 10+ years of giving our stuff away for free and waiting for first the advertisers and then the tip jars to pay off. So far only Big Search has gotten rich off the content.

    The fact is that giving stuff away and letting someone else make money off of it is now the old business model. The real place we need innovation is finding an acceptable paywall that helps the artist afford health insurance while keeping the patrons happy enough to pay.

    That where we need innovation and that's why you celebrated it when Louis CK and Kevin Smith did it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    Alex Austin (profile), Feb 29th, 2012 @ 5:04pm

    Re: Putting up a paywall is an innovative business model

    And, this has what to do with the price of tea in China?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Feb 29th, 2012 @ 5:08pm

    Re:

    Well we sure know there's no shit for Sherlock either.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    icon
    Gwiz (profile), Feb 29th, 2012 @ 5:11pm

    Re: Putting up a paywall is an innovative business model

    ...that helps the artist afford health insurance...

    Tell you what bob, I'll start giving a shit about that when I can afford decent health insurance for myself, ok?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    icon
    awbMaven (profile), Feb 29th, 2012 @ 5:17pm

    Typically "Irish" from an English p.o.v.

    So, you pass a crap law and then promise to go about changing other laws to make it less crap.

    Arse-about-tit imv, a bit like ACTA in the EU being discussed again tomorrow: http://wp.me/p1jRDO-5T

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Torg (profile), Feb 29th, 2012 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Putting up a paywall is an innovative business model

    "The fact is that giving stuff away and letting someone else make money off of it is now the old business model."

    Exactly! That's why we're trying to popularize new business models that help the artist prosper instead of the record labels. You've finally got it, bob!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    icon
    Rikuo (profile), Feb 29th, 2012 @ 5:21pm

    I'm Irish, living in Dublin, and apart from Techdirt, I haven't heard ANYTHING at all about this, not in any of the newspapers (can't say anything about TV, as I don't watch TV, or listen to the radio).

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 29th, 2012 @ 5:25pm

    WAR IS PEACE
    FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
    IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH
    A MOVIE REMAKE THAT NOBODY ASKED FOR IS INNOVATION

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 29th, 2012 @ 5:25pm

    Re:

    I'd bet Bono showed up to someone's birthday party as well to say thanks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    icon
    Torg (profile), Feb 29th, 2012 @ 5:29pm

    Re:

    PROTESTS ARE BLACKMAIL
    FREE SERVICES ARE BAD FOR THE CUSTOMER
    MONEY IS SPEECH

    Hey, this is pretty easy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    blert, Feb 29th, 2012 @ 6:20pm

    Re:

    You might not have noticed the tiny boxes with "articles" in them most of the mainstream press gave this coverage by. Or maybe you missed RTEs 20 debate on primetime.

    Online media such as the thejournal.ie gave it exstensive coverage. You the coverage that over 80,000 people signing a petition against deserves.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Atkray (profile), Feb 29th, 2012 @ 6:36pm

    Re:

    Well there you go freetardo, if you weren't so busy pirating all your content you would have time to watch the tv programming that has been so thoughtfully provided for you and then you would have know about and understood this just like bob up there.

     

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  17.  
    icon
    Andrew F (profile), Feb 29th, 2012 @ 6:41pm

    Does this affect search engines. If I recall correctly, Google has a rather large presence corporate in Ireland, so it'd be interesting to see how they react.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 29th, 2012 @ 6:41pm

    It is irony that someone named Sherlock doesn't have a clue right?
    I get confused sometimes....

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 29th, 2012 @ 7:32pm

    Nice to see that we now have a real-life example as to whether such measures "break the internet". There will be a lot of interested parties watching this one.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 29th, 2012 @ 7:47pm

    Re:

    Assuming of course they are willing to stop what they are doing and see the results.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 29th, 2012 @ 8:11pm

    The liability has to end up somewhere. Your solutions all seem to be that nobody is responsible for anything, even their own actions and those of the people using their services. So who else is actually responsible?

    The internet is broken, BTW... Ireland is just trying to fix it a bit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 29th, 2012 @ 8:20pm

    Vote them out of office!

    Is it too much to hope that, come next elections, the Irish public will vote out the assholes who passed this law despite widespread opposition?

    The easiest prey is that which does not fight back.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    Dave, Feb 29th, 2012 @ 8:27pm

    Re:

    "The internet is broken..."

    In what regard? Please explain the way in which the "internet" is broken.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Zem, Feb 29th, 2012 @ 9:20pm

    Lol Ireland

    Looks like the Irish experiment of self rule and nationhood is over after less than 100 years. GOGO Ireland.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 29th, 2012 @ 9:37pm

    Re: Putting up a paywall is an innovative business model

    It's funny how you don't even know what a "paywall" is.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 29th, 2012 @ 9:44pm

    Re: Putting up a paywall is an innovative business model

    I hope you don't mean you want every artist to be able to afford health insurance. Bad artists don't have a right to make money if no one wants their shit. Just like most people can't afford real health insurance if they create a start up that fails. Artists aren't taking any bigger risk (and possibly a lesser risk), and deserve no more protection than others.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 29th, 2012 @ 11:56pm

    One step forward, two steps back

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    icon
    Claire Ryan (profile), Mar 1st, 2012 @ 1:19am

    I wish I could feel surprised at this, but no. I'm not.

    Ireland is run by a large number of career politicians:

    - some of whom effectively inherited their positions from their parents
    - many of whom have no actual skills other than being personable
    - with little to no concept of how the Internet works
    - in an environment where corruption is rampant, excessive, and largely unpunished
    - and surrounded by businesspeople who have a habit of seeing the government as a tool to be used to increase their profits.

    Of course it was passed. Cronyism alone would ensure that. If the Irish government are not going to listen to the people when it comes to something like bailing out the defunct banking system - after it was run off a cliff by rich bankers with ties to the major political parties - then they will not listen now.

    The chunk of Ireland that votes is largely the older population who view technology with deep suspicion. The major political parties are a choice between the deeply corrupt, the ineffectual and incompetent, and the so-small-they're-powerless. And the younger, college-educated generation (most of us, we can get close-to-free third level degrees) between 20 and 30 years old are emigrating in their thousands, in keeping with the long tradition of the Irish saying 'fuck this' and getting out of the country when faced with economic disaster.

    In short: the only thing that'll have an effect on this is if the major tech companies (who base their European HQs in Ireland to take advantage of the ridiculously low corporate tax rate) start kicking up a fuss or bribing the right people. Nothing in Irish politics matters except money, and if they threaten to take all their money and leave for someplace less obviously crazy, the law will be struck down so fast your head will spin. But nothing - NOTHING - the actual populace can do will make a difference.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 1:38am

    Re: Putting up a paywall is an innovative business model

    Who is this Big Search? All I can find when I Google it is "Matt Popieluch: Best known as the singer and co-songwriter of Foreign Born". Why does he make so much money as an artist and the others don't? Maybe they're doing something wrong? By the way, are you allowed to use his name all the time? Doesn't he mind?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 1:48am

    @awbmaven

    just read from the link posted. wow! Karel De Gucht is so full of BS it's unbelievable! wonder how long it took and what incentives he received to make him such a lying arse hole? the conversation later will be very interesting. i hope that gets posted.

    as for Ireland, they obviously didn't have the balls to stand up against EMI. how can a country sell out it's people like that? will be interesting when the EU decides whether it ACTA is legal or not if Ireland has to change things.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 2:10am

    Re:

    "- many of whom have no actual skills other than being personable
    - with little to no concept of how the Internet works
    - in an environment where corruption is rampant, excessive, and largely unpunished
    - and surrounded by businesspeople who have a habit of seeing the government as a tool to be used to increase their profits."

    You just described a large part of the politicians world-wide :)

    (but interesting post)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 3:03am

    Re:

    "how can a country sell out it's people like that?"

    You don't know the half of it! Being forced as citizens to repay bank debts etc.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    identicon
    hfh, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 4:07am

    Re: Re: Typical legislation sequence

    I do hope you're joking right?

    Drug prohibiton is THE biggest mistake of the last century, it doesnt work, and never will.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 4:56am

    Re: Re:

    People will probably figure it out when they wake up one day and their internet doesn't work. Here's betting it doesn't happen and all of the inflammatory Chicken Little rhetoric is revealed as bullshit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    icon
    Marcel de Jong (profile), Mar 1st, 2012 @ 5:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Typical legislation sequence

    That comment by Zos was dripping in sarcasm.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    lux hibernia, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 5:44am

    Fallout from which will only hurt others

    The media companies know that legislation like this will have no effect on illegal downloads. They are trying to set precedents and create an atmosphere that will allow them to take more steps towards monopolising content and destroying the public domain.

    The unintended consequences of this will be to hurt small content creators, innovators and business owners. When I say 'unintended' I mean by the legislators. The media companies couldn't care less about what happens to artists.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    TDR, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 6:12am

    I guess the luck of the Irish isn't going to be so good this St. Patty's day...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 6:28am

    Re: Re: Typical legislation sequence

    Wrong order mate.

    1. Profit
    2. Pass draconian law to censor the Internet
    3. Promise to study what to do about the Internet
    4. ???

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    icon
    The Groove Tiger (profile), Mar 1st, 2012 @ 6:35am

    Re: Putting up a paywall is an innovative business model

    Health insurance is the Ultimate Paywall.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 6:37am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The internet will still work but if all goes according to plan it will just turn into TV version 2.0

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Mar 1st, 2012 @ 6:40am

    Re:

    You know how it is, genius skips a generation here and there. Oh wait, no relation, yeah Irony.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 6:40am

    Re:

    If by broken you mean: works as intended to connect the world and allow individuals to share and transmit information, and by fix you mean: give greater control to large companies and make any interface that allows user generated content to be too great of a liability to own. Then you are correct.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 8:15am

    That means the money now goes to VPN services.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    icon
    BeeAitch (profile), Mar 1st, 2012 @ 9:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    ..at which point it is no longer the internet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Alastair McKinstry, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 11:44am

    Re: Putting up a paywall is an innovative business model

    Nope, we tried the paywall route first. That didn't work, as people wouldn't pay, but would get free content elsewhere, even if not as good; it didn't matter.

    Eg. the Irish Times : originally all paywall, then free, as otherwise there was no money, now just small money from advertising.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    icon
    Richard Bennett (profile), Mar 1st, 2012 @ 11:56am

    Innovative New Business Models

    The Internet's business model for content seems to involve giving your work away for free and buying lottery tickets with the artist's earnings from Starbucks.

    I don't think that's going to work.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Another Anonymous, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re:

    DISARMAMENT IS SAFETY
    GOVERNMENTS ARE GOOD
    CELEBRITIES ARE EXCELLENT ROLE MODELS

    Am I doing it right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Dave, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 2:55pm

    Sell-out

    I have to say that the Irish aren't exactly renowned for being the brightest bulbs in the box and this little incident seems to confirm that their politicians are certainly in the low-wattage category. There will be tears, mark my words. They will find that this is a very hot potato and will do nothing to stamp out piracy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Claire Ryan, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 5:02pm

    Re: Sell-out

    ...You're kidding me. I posted a rather long comment on why this is largely about corruption, and all you got is hurr durr dem Oirish be stoopid?

    Your ignorance is showing.

    (FYI, it's not called the Land of Saints and Scholars for nothing. How about you do the research before you decide to open your mouth next time?)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    Rob, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 5:27pm

    what a load of horseshit..send this ejit an email to complain and would the last person to leave Ireland please turn off the broadband
    http://www.labour.ie/seansherlock

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    Liam M, Mar 3rd, 2012 @ 6:49am

    Re: Sell-out

    You're crossing the line there, Dave. Our systems are the legacy of archaic imperial systems not suited to Irish culture, which were adopted out of practical necessity in trying to put together a sovereign nation. I for one am confident these will ultimately balance out. The 'brightest bulbs in the box' notion is from another legacy - one of historical spin-doctoring.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 3rd, 2012 @ 8:21am

    Does this mean no more internet commercials?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 4th, 2012 @ 8:54am

    Re: Fallout from which will only hurt others

    No one wants to destroy the public domain, you buttfag

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Ed Campion, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 3:36am

    Re:

    You cannot get the genie back in the bottle. For better, or worse the old media business models are dead. The only viable model for media companies is the Netflix one. (Low monthly fee, for all you can eat).

    Media companies can whine all they like about CD sales not being what they were, tell it to the horse, and buggy manufacturers. Hobbling the internet, so that you don't have to change your business model is state socialism for the wealthy.

    There is a tiny chance that a hypothetical government could devise a positive piece of legislation for the internet. Neither this, not SOPA are that piece of legislation. In fact, they are actively harmful to the consumer, and in the long term to the rights holders.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Ed Campion, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 3:45am

    Re: Lol Ireland

    You're trolling,I'll bite anyway. We are currently in the fifth french republic. Sure, the first Irish Republic (1948-2011) is over.
    Of course you appear to value glibness over actually knowing anything.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Ed Campion, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 3:48am

    Re: Innovative New Business Models

    You cannot get the genie back in the bottle. For better, or worse the old media business models are dead. The only viable model for media companies is the Netflix one. (Low monthly fee, for all you can eat).

    Media companies can whine all they like about CD sales not being what they were, tell it to the horse, and buggy manufacturers. Hobbling the internet, so that you don't have to change your business model is state socialism for the wealthy.

    There is a tiny chance that a hypothetical government could devise a positive piece of legislation for the internet. Neither this, not SOPA are that piece of legislation. In fact, they are actively harmful to the consumer, and in the long term to the rights holders.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Ed Campion, Mar 5th, 2012 @ 3:57am

    Re: Re: Fallout from which will only hurt others

    Thank you for your erudite, and valuable contribution. Please understand that open ended legislation compiled by non-experts will have consequences in areas that they were never supposed to.This is the chief problem with SOPA, and this Irish piece of legislation.

    The other is that the old business models are dead, hobbling the internet so that big media dosen't have to change its business models, is socialism for the wealthy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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