Ireland has signed a new bill into law, the so-called “Irish SOPA,” despite extensive objection, including numerous protests across Ireland and 80,000 signatories to an Internet petition opposing the legislation. The Irish government, which was sued by EMI earlier this year for the delay in passing a SOPA-like law requiring ISP censorship, has now made its move.
Sean Sherlock, the Irish Minister for Research and Innovation, has taken heed of the recent rulings from the EU Court of Justice by limiting the original proposal and not requiring ISPs to be proactive in the censorship and blocking of websites containing infringing content. Instead, the recent legislation will allow copyright holders to petition the forced blockage of websites by ISPs, as recently exemplified by major record labels and studios in Europe.
Sherlock also addressed his goal of “removing barriers to innovation” by commencing the “next stage” of reviewing copyright in Ireland, apparently to appease the dismayed citizens after the signing of this controversial law. This review of copyright law in Ireland was first discussed last year after the realization that the country’s current copyright law was stifling innovation.
In a recent post on Techdirt, author Mike Masnick addresses the incongruity in enacting this bill that interferes with using the Internet as a “platform that enables new business models,” and Ireland’s aim at increasing innovation. Masnick’s advice: setting up a censorship regime while misplacing liability on service providers and decreasing the incentives for acceptance of innovative business models does not lead to an increase in innovation.