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.