Has the Irish Government introduced #3strikes legislation? (Update: No)

[Updates at end] It appears that the Irish Government has implemented or is about to implement a significant change to the Copyright & Related Rights Acts 2000 to 2007 by statutory instrument on the eve of an election.

Silicon Republic reports:

In its final days, the Government is believed to be rushing through a statutory instrument that will amend the existing Copyright Act and which will give judges the power to grant injunctions against ISPs in relation to copyright infringement cases.

The demands for the change came about as a result of Mr. Justice Charleton’s decision in EMI v. UPC last year, when he ruled that Irish law did not allow him to grant such injunction “even though that relief is merited on the facts.”

The decision led to frantic lobbying on the part of record companies and a media campaign on this issue, including dramatic statements from Paul McGuinness that the issue “has got to do with the future of civilisation”.

With the range of other problems facing the Government the issue did not get much priority. The election manifestos of Fine Gael and the Green Party suggest that they are conscious of the issue with FG appearing to support the industry and the Greens appearing to support the consumer.

If accurate, there are many problems with this amendment and TJ McIntyre outlines them in his comments to Silicon Republic. However, whether or not the contents of the amendment to the Acts are agreed with, it is shocking that the Government is proposing to introduce such a contentious change by way of statutory instrument with hours to go before an election.

A statutory instrument is defined as “an order, regulation, rule, scheme or bye-law made in exercise of a power conferred by statute”. Section 7 of the Acts appears to provide reasonably wide scope for the introduction of regulations but it is likely be a topic for debate as to whether the reported change fits within or exceeds that provision.

Ironically, Charleton J. stated in his judgment:

Legislative intervention is required, if the Oireachtas see fit, to protect constitutional rights to copyright and foster the national resource of creativity. (my emphasis)

Updates (24 February 2011)

  • Acting Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Innovation Mary Hanafin has said that there “is no truth in the rumour” that an amendment to the Copyright & Related Rights Acts will be passed before the election. The press Minister expects the next Government to consult on the issue before such an amendment is made.
  • However, an story from the original source of the rumour earlier today said that the Department “neither confirmed nor denied that a statutory instrument was being pushed through, but said “it may be necessary” to introduce measures to clarify Ireland’s position under the Copyright Directive in relation to injunctions, thanks to the recent court case involving UPC and the music industry.”
  • Simon Coveney, a front-bench member of Fine Gael, tweeted about the issue earlier. Fine Gael is highly likely to introduce the amendment following the election but not, one hopes, by way of statutory instrument.

 

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9 Responses to “Has the Irish Government introduced #3strikes legislation? (Update: No)”


  1. 1 TJ 23 February 2011 at 22:10

    I suspect we’re looking at an SI under the European Communities Act 1972 if in fact they are planning to introduce an SI – I think you’re probably right that s.7 CRRA 2000 isn’t sufficient.

  2. 2 Rossa McMahon 23 February 2011 at 22:12

    The 1972 Act must be worn pretty thin with all the use it gets in Ireland.

    With all the proposals for Oireachtas reform, I’m disappointed no-one has suggested that the Seanad could have a role in reviewing secondary legislation.

  3. 3 Fergus O'Rourke 23 February 2011 at 22:15

    The Dáil may reject statutory instruments within a specified period after they have been promulgated, no ?

  4. 4 Mark 24 February 2011 at 08:48

    Why does this not surprise my at all?
    For one thing there are not enough people vocal enough in this country at putting the other side of the story forward.. the media ‘industry’ by enlarge support the copyright ‘industry’.

    The Seanad seem to be very wet behind the ears as you can see when Conor Lenihan came in for a chat with them about Intellectual Property…

    (much credit to anyone whop can sit through this in it;’s entirety… it’s painful.. cringeworthy stuff..

    http://itison.mirocommunity.org/playlists/17/seanad-intellectual-property-rights

    Rushing things through before an election…
    Has this happened before?
    yes indeedy…
    Remember Dick Roche in 2007 >>> Tara / M3

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2007/0614/tara.html

  5. 5 Rossa McMahon 24 February 2011 at 10:05

    I think 6 months in the case of EC regulations (s. 3(2) 1972 Act). In the unlikely scenario that the regulations are passed under the Copyright & Related Rights Acts, they must be laid before both houses of the Oireachtas “as soon as may be after” they have been made.

  6. 6 Mark 24 February 2011 at 11:57

    FYI

    I have just posted a paper here by Ronan Sheehan that may be of interest…

    “Colmcille and the Irish Copyright Tradition”

    (indeed the documentary may be of interest and I welcome any collaborators to the project)

    http://www.tarasaga.com/news/columcilles-copybook


  1. 1 Ask Leinster House - News from Irish Poilitics Trackback on 24 February 2011 at 13:17
  2. 2 Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation (brief) consultation on filesharing injunctions « A Clatter of the Law Trackback on 20 June 2011 at 11:31
  3. 3 The strange, hypocritical attitude of the Irish Government to copyright, the internet and citizens « A Clatter of the Law Trackback on 1 March 2012 at 11:03
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