‘Don’t push through illegal downloads law’ – Eamon Ryan

24 Feb 2011

Former minister for communications Eamon Ryan called on Minister Mary Hanafin not to sign a new law which could see judges getting the power to grant injunctions against ISPs.

The statutory instrument would amend the Copyright Act to give judges this power in relation to copyright infringement cases – a three strikes rule – which stemmed from October’s court case between UPC and the music industry.

This is believed to have been rushed through the legislative process and was due to be signed by Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Mary Hanafin, with a view to it being passed by Friday.

Referencing Siliconrepublic.com’s reports, Ryan has called on Hanafin not to sign off on this new law.

“The reports in recent days have been seriously disturbing,” said Ryan.

“It looks like they’re legislating for the ‘three strikes and you’re out rule’ in the last days of the administration,” he said.

“If this is the case, then I would urge Minister Hanafin not to sign this statutory instrument and to consult carefully with the IT industry, telecoms providers and the Department of Communications before there are any further moves.

“Our digitally traded sector is a €25bn industry currently employing over 73,000 people. It is the space where Ireland has the greatest potential for growth. But the greatest threat to this growth would be an overly legalistic approach to internet freedom and copyright.

“This is sensitive policy that we need to get right. It has to be in tune with Europe and it cannot hurt our growing digital industry,”

“The Government cannot perform this legislative sleight of hand on the eve of polling. It would be a slapdash response that could jeopardise jobs and our future recovery. Don’t sign the law,” said Ryan.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation 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.