Irish Job Minister: "Copyright Monopoly Is Bad For Our Businesses And Economy"

Ireland badge. Photo by Annie In Béziers, annieinbeziers @ FlickR.

These quotes from executive politicians would have been unthinkable a couple of years ago. Amidst economic hardship, the Cabinet in Ireland is seeking to boost digital industries, citing their importance to the economy. This boost is done by reducing the copyright monopoly.

The story in Silicon Republic, published today, outlines how Ireland is mulling a “radical copyright [monopoly] reform”. When you look under the hood, it doesn’t really look all that radical to the monopoly critics and pirates: Ireland is considering adopting “fair use“-type exceptions to the monopoly, and other ways to boost jobs and innovation.

But when you look a bit further under the hood, the shift in attitude is immense. The fair use clauses were always there for noncommercial use; if you went commercial, the monopoly always applied to you. What Ireland is realizing is that the copyright monopoly is hurting business. These quotes would have been absolutely unthinkable just two years ago:

“Some companies have indicated that the current copyright legislation does not cater well for the digital environment and actually creates barriers to innovation and to the establishment of new business models. […] I am determined to respond to these suggestions in a comprehensive and timely manner.”

— Richard Burton, Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

I have long argued in favor of fair use-type exceptions, but never from a business perspective. My angle has been that it is absolutely ridiculous that you can go to a European Wikipedia and look up Elvis Presley and read all about where he lived, who his parents were, and a historical record of shoe sizes, but not be able to listen to his music. You can do this on the US Wikipedia thanks to the fair use exceptions to the monopoly.

But that’s arguing for noncommercial use that doesn’t hurt marketing; it’s more from a nostalgic point of view. It’s rhetoric designed to appeal to people born in the 1940s and 50s. The quote above, copyright legislation does not cater well for the digital environment and actually creates barriers to innovation, when coming from the responsible Minister, is immensely stronger.

So while the possible reform — introducing fair use — isn’t that radical at all in itself, the shift in thinking certainly is. Never before have politicians openly conceded that the copyright monopoly is bad for business and the economy as a whole.

Via @copyrightgirl.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot.

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Discussion

  1. #mustread http://ur1.ca/44h3h cc @neeliekroeseu @ccbuhr @jimmyschulz @marietjed66

  2. Tim Dobson (@tdobson)

    WOW! Go Ireland! Executive politicians contemplating serious copyright reforms! O_o http://fb.me/Xty9PHkB

  3. haabe (@haabe)

    Irland vil gjøre det enklere å kopiere for å øke digital vekst. http://bit.ly/m5LODz I Norge går vi andre veien. http://bit.ly/jRjhLK

  4. Henrik

    o/ W00T!
    First time in a very long time I’m proud to be living in Ireland!

    1. John

      Me too man! :)

  5. Troed

    *staring*

    There IS a Flattr-button for this entry in my RSS-reader, but clicking it takes me here – without a Flattr-button in sight.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      That’s odd. It was there this morning. Maybe just a temp glitch over at Flattr’s.

  6. Irish Job Minister: “Copyright Monopoly Is Bad For Our Businesses And Economy” – Falkvinge on Infopolicy http://ow.ly/4QxPy

  7. Irish minister: Copyright monopoly bad for business and economy http://bit.ly/iudGHG Extending fair use to commercial purposes

  8. Irish minister: Copyright monopoly bad for business and economy http://bit.ly/iudGHG Extending fair use to commercial purposes

  9. mop

    Don’t want to diminish this, but here’s what I think is happening:

    Google uses Ireland as a tax haven. They get a ridiculous amount of money that way, so they want to keep the Goog with the golden eggs happy. Google’s lobbyists got busy, which is where those words came from.

    This ought to be a lesson for us. The people are powerless, but we can affect policy if we can get the IT companies’ lobbyists working for our benefit. Sucks, I know.

  10. #Ireland minister seriously questioning #copyright #monopoly: http://bit.ly/ksp6BA I hope the reform is enacted. (via @mlinksva)

  11. […] the rest of the story on Rick’s blog This post is from the News Bits section of TorrentFreak where we present stories from around the […]

  12. @yanfry

    Irish Job Minister: “ #Copyright Monopoly Is Bad For Our Businesses And Economy” – Falkvinge on Infopolicy http://bit.ly/j139Qk

  13. Oleksii

    Greetings, Rick) We translated this article into russian:
    http://pp-ua.org/Ostanni-novini/2011-05-11-23-40-29.html

  14. Irish Job Minister: “Copyright Monopoly Is Bad For Our Businesses And Economy”: http://j.mp/iNnomo

  15. "El monopolio del copyright daña los negocios y la economía" R. Bruton, Min Trabajo de Irlanda http://bit.ly/mllwWH #LeyLleras

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