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An Irish Jig?

Posted by Boghound on March 11, 2012

Another SOPA in Ireland

While the European Union is claiming that Stop Online Piracy Act was a bad legislation and nobody needed it, Ireland seems to be not getting the memo.

According to Irish legal experts, the authorities over there are about to bring in a SOPA-style bill that is even vaguer and open-ended. Indeed, it turned out that the Irish law will let record labels order broadband providers to block access to certain online services. However, Sean Sherlock (the Minister of State at the department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation) insists that the suggested legislation is completely different to the American Stop Online Piracy Act. Instead, it is only addressing the High Court judgement that had been handed down by Mr Justice Peter Charleton regarding to copyright legislation, according to Sherlock.

Nevertheless, the new “statutory instrument” of the country’s government seems to threaten to do the same things as SOPA. For example, it allows Internet service providers to block online services suspected of having copyrighted content on them.

Worse still, the entertainment industry could also ask a judge to order broadband providers to block services like Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook since they are claimed to contain their copyrighted material. Indeed, according to the suggested legislation, all the rights owner has to do is show a judge their material on the website and after that it will be allowed to order the Internet service provider to pull the plug.

Considering the fact that Google and Facebook are in fact Dublin’s largest employers, it might be very embarrassing for the government to see their websites banned in the country. According to the Irish legal expert, part of the Irish problem is that the tool in question being drawn up is quite woolly, so it will undoubtedly take a test case before we can know what the result will be. The expert underlined that politically, it is a no-win scenario. Even with the government being ready to open the legal doors for the copyright holders to start directing access policies of broadband providers, the entertainment industry is frothing and fuming.

Ironically enough, by taking such approach, the authorities can also attract the anger of a growing sector of the technology and digital communities. Indeed, it would be quite unusual to alienate both sides of a legislative argument.


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