Feeds

Cyberspace isn't a place - Irish Judge

Creators' rights are human rights, says Court

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

An Irish Judge has upheld the right of a creator to protect his creations as a fundamental human right. In a scathing and occasionally lyrical ruling, Judge Peter Charleton also pointed out the internet is merely one communication tool of many, and not "an amorphous extraterrestrial body with an entitlement to norms that run counter to the fundamental principles of human rights".

It's the strongest refutation of the idea most famously expressed at Davos by John Perry Barlow, in A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, which warned: "You have no sovereignty where we gather."

Charleton said, "the right to be identified with and to reasonably exploit one’s own original creative endeavour I regard as a human right," pointing out that this has existed in Irish Law since before even the days of The Grateful Dead - it's credited to Saint Colmcille (521-597).

The High Court in Dublin was reviewing the settlement in last year's EMI vs Eircom case. The defendant had referred to Eircom as Eire's Data Protection Commissioner. Charleton rejected the argument, ruling that:

"Copyright is a universal entitlement to be identified with and to sell, and therefore to enjoy, the fruits of creative work... Were copyright not to exist, then the efforts of an artist could be both stolen and passed off as the talent of another."

After singing the praises of the internet Charleton notes that it is, "thickly populated by fraudsters, pornographers of the worst kind and cranks.

"Among younger people, so much has the habit grown up of downloading copyright material from the internet that a claim of entitlement seems to have arisen to have what is not theirs for free."

Everyone won from this, he noted, "except for the creators of original copyright material who are utterly disregarded."

Interestingly, Charleton rejects the idea of copyright infringement as a 'crime' - it's a mere civil offence, in this case a breach of contract. Copyright infringement doesn't include a "mental element" involved in arson or murder, he notes.

So the ruling rejects two key arguments made by critics of the UK's Digital Economy Act - that internet access is a 'fundamental human right', and that copyright enforcement infringes privacy. The ruling gives the go ahead light for a 'three strikes' policy in Ireland - one rather speedier than anything discussed here, and which will be thrashed out in the months ahead (see A user's timetable to the Digital Economy Act).

After 28 days and two letters, the ISP may serve a 14-day disconnection notice during which time the user may appeal or promise to stop for good.

You can read the ruling here. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Yes, yes, Steve Jobs. Look what I'VE done for you lately – Tim Cook
New iPhone biz baron points to Apple's (his) greatest successes
Lords take revenge on REVENGE PORN publishers
Jilted Johns and Jennies with busy fingers face two years inside
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.