Irish ‘SOPA law’ another under the radar attack on digital rights by a craven government pandering far too easily to corporate interests
Very strong and accurate piece from Karlin Lillington in the Irish Times today, making no bones about the motivations behind the changes in copyright law that Sean Sherlock and the Irish government are trying to sneak in. It’s odd at a time when the SOPA law in the US, which is similarly motivated to the Irish law, has just been dropped.
FOR THREE governments in a row, “short-sighted” and “sneaky” seem to have become the relevant terms in operation when bringing in controversial, high-impact legislation on digital issues.
In the past, from the government’s perspective, this approach has worked well in shoving in poorly drafted, unscrutinised law on the controversial area of data retention, giving the Republic one of the most severe, internationally criticised, anti-business retention regimes in the world.
This time around, the Government is trying again to use secondary legislation – a statutory instrument requiring no discussion and no debate in the Oireachtas – to (supposedly) protect intellectual property for a narrow band of hard-lobbying entertainment industries.
For despite what the ‘hard-lobbying entertainment industries’ might say internet piracy is not killing off its profits. That assumes for a start that the amount produced is static, which given the amount of ‘content’ flooding towards us each day is absurd.
But more importantly, there is evidence (from numerous mainstream studies and reports) that industry claims about piracy decimating revenue, jobs and creativity are vastly overstated. A careful analysis of such claims by Julian Sanchez on Ars Technica ( iti.ms/wT8l02), picked up and further discussed by Forbes ( iti.ms/xQJXhg), indicates piracy has actually had only a minor impact on these industries.
The record industry in the US, for example, has about double the new releases it had a decade ago, when piracy was barely on its radar. The film industry also has more releases now than in pre-piracy days and its most pirated movies are also those that made staggering box office profits. Sanchez cites evidence that the music industry is making back profits lost to piracy through “complementary purchases” such as concert tickets. And a recent report issued by a US anti-piracy lobby group rather farcically indicates its clients are doing quite well, thank you.
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