Digital Rights Ireland needs your help

Digital Rights Ireland is a small volunteer organisation dedicated to defending civil, human and legal rights in a digital age.  They are perhaps best known thus far for their participation in the Stop SOPA in Ireland campaign – the attempt to stop Seán Sherlock bringing in the law that Sherlock promised couldn’t and wouldn’t be used to block access to any websites.

So, when the music industry recently brought a court case against Irish ISPs to force them to block access to some websites, Digital Rights Ireland applied to be an amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the case.


Digital Rights Ireland

Digital Rights Ireland

Long story short, the music industry opposed the application, and the one day hearing to determine if DRI could be heard in the case landed them with a legal bill of almost €30,000 (later halved on appeal (which itself cost €1,900!) to €13,700.

(As an aside, how come just about the only “recommendation” of the Troika to not be implemented was reform of the legal profession?!)

So, without help, Digital Rights Ireland could be shut down by the music industry.  These guys are working for every citizen – please don’t let that happen!  You can donate via the links on their site, at



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!


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,, 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.

Copyright Reform

If you care about copyright reform in Ireland (and it effects you, so you should), then you could do a lot worse than comment or contribute to this joint Copyright Reform submission.  If you happen to not agree with the general thrust of that submission, then there will at some point in the near future be a downloadable version that you can alter to your heart’s content and send as your own submission.