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.

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Comments on “Ireland Signs Controversial 'Irish SOPA' Into Law; Kicks Off New Censorship Regime”

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57 Comments
bob (profile) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Claire Ryan (user link) says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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?

Anonymous Coward says:

@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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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)

lux hibernia says:

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.

Alastair McKinstry (user link) says:

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.

Dave says:

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.

Liam M (profile) says:

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.

Ed Campion says:

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.

Ed Campion says:

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.

Ed Campion says:

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.

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