Antoin sez, "Digital Rights Ireland has done great work challenging mass surveillance laws before the European Court of Justice. But it could now be shut down by the music industry if it can't pay legal bills arising from Internet blocking litigation."
In February we took another important court case. We applied to be an ‘amicus curiae‘ in a case brought by record companies demanding internet blocking in Ireland. This would have given us the right to speak in court – to explain why blocking is futile and how overblocking affects other websites and harms internet users. Otherwise the Irish courts can order blocking based only on the say so of the music industry – without anyone to challenge their case.
The judge gave a detailed decision. However, the upshot was that we did not succeed in our application. What’s more, costs were awarded against us. This meant that we had to pay the bills of the other parties to the case. The ISPs did not pursue costs against us, but the music industry did – demanding that we pay them €26,658.15 for what was, in effect, a single day in court. We challenged that bill and it was reduced to €13,700 – but we had to pay further costs of €1,900 to do so.
You might think that litigation in Ireland is outrageously expensive. You might think that this favours industry over the rights of the individual and cripples civil society. We wouldn’t quibble. Be that as it may, we now need to raise money to cover these costs.
The alternative is that the music industry could shut us down.
I write books. My latest is a YA science fiction novel called Homeland (it's the sequel to Little Brother). More books: Rapture of the Nerds (a novel, with Charlie Stross); With a Little Help (short stories); and The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow (novella and nonfic). I speak all over the place and I tweet and tumble, too.