#SherBlock

I was off work yesterday, and listening to the radio.  A news bulletin tells me that EMI, Sony, Warner and Universal had been successful in their case taken against UPC, Imagine, Vodafone, Digiweb, Hutchinson (t/a Three) and O2.  In the case Sean Sherlock told us would never happen, they’d secured an injunction forcing these ISPs to block the Pirate Bay.

I didn’t know if it was temporary or not, but The Pirate Bay site was indeed down for me yesterday, going through my own ISP.

Even as the newsreader told me “It’s going to be much harder for people to download music illegally”, I’d opened a proxy site and yes – there we were, Pirates!

piratebay

This case generated so much bullshit it’s almost impossible to know where to start.

“Experts also calculated up to US$36 million advertising revenue is generated annually for the Pirate Bay sites”, the plaintiffs claimed.  So?  And really?  That many people click on really bad adverts for ways to grow… certain body parts?  Doubt it.

The plaintiffs claim they were losing sales of €20 million annually due to piracy.  Um… no.

There’s an internet now, all right, but people buy stuff on it, too.  Haven’t these people heard of iTunes, Google Play, Spotify – or if you want physical CDs, Amazon, Play.uk, and so on.  I’ll pay €15 for a CD – but not if I can get the tracks on Google Play for €5.  And presuming I can find a handy record shop.  All the ones I used to know and love have turned into mobile phone shops, or Spars.  This seems to have passed by the “businessmen” at Warner and IRMA, who presumably still think home taping is killing music.

This case was taken because of the Statutory Instrument introduced by that notable debater, Sean Sherlock, TD.  Don’t ask him any questions on Twitter, now, or he’ll block you (cf #Sherblock).  Anyway, presumably he’s busy.  Outlawing roads, on the grounds they’re used by getaway drivers?

Artists, of course, deserve to be paid for their work.  But the solution is take out the middle men, not to try to force the tide back.  The Oatmeal put it best of all.

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What to do with the Seanad?

A correspondent to the Irish Times professes the opinion that Seanad Éireann, despite all appearances to the contrary, is a democratic institution, because some politicians who’ve been elected by everyone get to elect some senators, and some university graduates get to elect another handful.

Sorry, no, that’s not democracy.

For a start, just looking at the university panels – what’s democratic about a huge proportion of the population having no vote, and a small but significant section having multiple votes?

Seriously. I had coffee last week with someone who likes to study. Nothing wrong with that at all.  But they have three degrees – from different universities.  They therefore manage to have not one, but two votes in the Seanad election – one for the Trinity panel and one for the NUI panel. Someone else at the table has a degree from Dublin City University. No vote for them.  That’s fair?  Democratic?

The correspondent referred to above writes from Brussels. Assuming that’s a permanent address, then they have representation without taxation – while people living and working here have taxation without representation.  Not democratic.

The obvious retort is “Reform!”

But we keep hearing that, and nothing happens.  This report, from 2004, is not the first such report recommending reform – hopefully it can be the last.

How to save €300 million: an aside

I’m not even going to mention the “Let’s get multinationals to actually pay something approaching 12.5% Corporation Tax on profits” thing, because there’s your €300m right there – and, in fact, the billion you need to save by 2015! –  and that’d make the series very short indeed.

Incidentally – how is it that a corporation can manage to be non-resident anywhere for tax purposes?

Is Apple really just a giant L. Ron Hubbard-esque Sea Org at this point?