The fight against intrusive copyright laws being used on the web lost a battle in Ireland on Thursday. The Guardian reports that Ireland's government has now passed a law that would allow copyright content holders to petition Internet service providers to block all access to web sites that are suspected of harboring pirated material.
Seán Sherlock, the Labour minister for research and innovation, stated that he did not feel that the new law would eventually lead to major web sites being blocked such as YouTube or Facebook. He added that he has "no intention" to use the law to block Ireland's citizens from accessing the Internet. The new law also has the backing of the Irish Recorded Music Association which said it would be used to protect the rights of Irish music creators.
However, there has been a lot of opposition to this law, dubbed by its critics the "Irish SOPA", a reference to the now stalled US legislation Stop Online Piracy Act; over 80,000 people signed an online petition that protested the law. Ireland also has a number of tech companies that have large offices such as Google and Facebook and they fear that the new law could cause the tech industry to slow its growth in that country.