Hanafin denies changes to copyright laws

24 Feb 2011

Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Minister Mary Hanafin TD has issued a statement claiming there is no truth to “rumours circulating in the media” that she is about to sign a Statutory Instrument amending the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000.

The denial comes as sources now claim there are two, and not just one, Statutory Instrument in the works.

Siliconrepublic.com reported yesterday that a Statutory Instrument was being rushed through in the final days of Government that would grant judges the power to grant injunctions against ISPs in relation to copyright infringement cases.

In October, UPC was successful in a court case over the implementation of ‘three strikes’ rules against illegal downloaders which were sought by the music industry’s big four labels, EMI, Universal, Warner and Sony. The judge presiding the case, Mr Justice Peter Charleton, held that laws seeking to identify and disconnect copyright infringers was not enforceable in Ireland, regardless of the record companies’ complaints.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation told Siliconrepublic.com that it had sought the advice of the Attorney General on the matter and that consultations are in train with the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

Hanafin’s response

“There is absolutely no truth in the rumour circulating in the media that I am about to sign a Statutory Instrument relating to the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 and/or the EU Copyright Directive 2001,” Hanafin said in a statement issued by her department this afternoon.

“In light of the recent High Court decision in the case of EMI & Others vs UPC, my department has been working, in consultation with the Attorney General’s Office and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, to address the question raised in regard to Ireland’s compliance with the EU Copyright Directive.

“However, these consultations have not concluded and there is no question of legislation being rushed through by me as the responsible minister.”

In conclusion, Hanafin said: “It would be normal practice within the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation to consult all the relevant stakeholders in advance of legislation such as this being enacted.

“I would expect that this consultation will take place when the department and the new minister have a clearer view of the best way forward on this issue,” she said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years