Whether big companies want copyright law for the protection of artists or to preserve their bottom line is a discussion for another day argues Aidan Shatterfreak. There are better ways to deal with copyright theft beyond shutting down services that end up hosting content.
In the rush to get SOPA Ireland passed, the one thing that Sean Sherlock and all the people who lobbied for this legislation seem to have forgotten is the middleman, the person who actually places the content on the internet and makes it available via Youtube or Rapidshare or any other service. In a world dominated by common sense the person to go after is the thief themselves, not the method by which they are doing the stealing.
The brass tax of the SOPA law is that it is the rough equivalent of holding a shop responsible for the theft of its stock. It’s like banning cars because a small element of society will use their car to escape from the scene of a crime. It’s like trying to perform a delicate surgical procedure with a hammer.
The recording and film industries have endlessly touted the concept that the reason the bottom fell out of their business is piracy, when this blatantly ignores worldwide economic troubles. The resultant loss of credibility in both their arguments and the numbers they insist are accurate have led them to the edge of a precipice from which they are struggling to recover.
Unfortunately, there will always be reactionaries like Sherlock who act without thinking about the consequences and the actual effectiveness of the methods they use to fight piracy.
The truth of it is that any new legislation or wording to the law should be done with delicacy and foresight. Assurances should be in place that new laws don’t have a negative impact on our economy, especially when we are desperate to portray ourselves as a good place for modern businesses to set up shop and take advantage of a skilled and available workforce. This kind of draconian action doesn’t do us any favours.
Pirates are plentiful and as quickly as something gets taken down it can be put back up again twice. As a result, content based companies are always going to be one step behind, and under SOPA Ireland the only avenue leads to them being shut down.
Despite assurances that the issue will be handled with delicacy, up to this point all the evidence points to the opposite. So, we can only hope that ‘Sherlock’s Folly’ doesn’t lead to more people in the queue at the dole office and more companies pulling out of Ireland.