Anything to do with copyright or copyright law is mind numbingly confusing and boring. It's capable of reducing the most intelligent among us to a state of yawnarama quicker then you can say "Paragraph eight section II of subsection 869" and thus causes us to lose immediate interest and zone out.
SOPA Ireland is a really important issue though. We've done the yawn bit for you and actually read through the arguments and consulted with a few people in the know: here's the Beaut.ie take on the situation.
- It's vague and open ended - this is bad law plain and simple (read why). Nothing is nailed down and it's full of more loopholes than the knitting I did in fifth class. Silicon Republic has the full text of the legislation plus some assurances from the minister responsible. Far be it for me to say he pulled these out of his ass as a reaction to the sustained criticism he has received on foot of this issue.
- Anti democratic - it is not being properly debated. It will just "happen." Political commenter Suzy Byrne of Maman Poulet deplores the situation, saying "it's the wrong way to pass a law - there should be a bill, discussion, debate, amendment and a vote. The Minister is proposing none of this and seems to be making up something that can be dealt with quickly and avoid much scrutiny."
- Pro censorship. Do you want the government to decide which sites you visit? If you do, try living in China. I'm getting all Mel Gibson here: the government can refuse to burn the bondholders - but they can never take away our Internet Freeeeeeeedom. Which is exactly what would happen here if we let it go through without a whimper. If you believe in democracy, freedom of speech and choice - vote against this and any legislation that smacks of censorship.
- Anti-industry. If you were Facebook would you want to be based in Ireland and worry about being sued on the basis of whatever copyright infringing content one of your gajillion users put up. Would you want to hire extra staff to monitor said copyright infringements? Could you afford to fight off all the lawsuits? No. You would simply relocate elsewhere. And take your jobs with you.
- And that's a huge site with lots of money and resources. What about little Internet sites like blogs for instance? They'd be up shit creek without a paddle. Tom Murphy, founder of Boards.ie argues that "the implications are no more social media for Ireland." Read his statement here - it sums everything up really well.
- Pro Big Business bullying. Why is the Irish government prepared to enact legislation on the say so of the music industry? (Read about some of their machinations here). Music industry - it's time to face up to the 21st Century - it's up to YOU to grow and change. Social Media and online marketing expert Damien Mulley reckons: "these are the death throes of the music and movie industry and they're sullying their dignity on the way out. Whether it goes through or not it is too late for them. Their destruction really has been sped up over these petty escapades." In other words their arguments are rubbish. Compare it say to Easons trying to block access to eBooks or Amazon.
- It will scare off new business thinking of locating in Ireland. According to Adrian Weckler of the Sunday Business Post (via TJMcIntyre) "the new law will give music and movie firms the legal footing to get ISPs blocking. That may not go down too well with Google and Facebook, which are two of Dublin's biggest employers. It probably won't sit easily, either, with the IDA, which may have to alter its pitch to large US social media firms who may have been thinking of setting up in Ireland. (That includes Twitter.)"
Are you with us? If you are, visit StopSOPAIreland.com and join the 45k+ people who've already signed the petition and said NO to Minister Sherlock and the SOPA legislation.