Here are the speeches from yesterday’s Digital Rights Forum in Dublin, a stirring and exciting debate on the controversial statutory instrument, featuring Innovation Minister Sean Sherlock, TD.
The signing of the statutory instrument amending the Copyright Act 2000 giving judges the power to grant injunctions against ISPs in cases of alleged copyright infringement is viewed by many in the internet industry as a retrograde step.
The common view is that the Government of Ireland failed to understand the technological issues, buckled under legal pressure from the music recording industry and signed into law a statutory instrument that is as vague as it is dangerous.
Intermediaries and ISPs warn that the instrument could damage the thriving internet sector in Ireland and threaten investment by internet giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter, not to mention the hopes of the indigenous digital media sector.
However, the debate in Ireland, which coincided with the SOPA controversy in the US, where politicians and lawmakers scrapped the law to allow for real reflection, is one facet of a global chain of events ranging from the arrival of ACTA to the enshrining of the internet as a human right by the European Court of Justice.
Sherlock’s presence at the debate is perhaps unique in this whole battle because few members of government anywhere in the world have provided such a level of access to the public on the debate.
Sherlock spoke of how the statutory instrument is one facet of an overall strategy leading to the ongoing Copyright Review he believes could put Ireland in the lead in terms of digital innovation, boosting the efforts of innovators and protecting the income of rightsholders.
Paul Durrant of the ISP Association of Ireland (ISPAI) spoke about how dangerously vague the statutory instrument is and how we need to provide greater certainty in this country not only to ISPs but also the multinationals investing here.
Boards.ie founder Tom Murphy spoke of the dangers of the statutory instrument from the perspective of innovation and freedom of speech and the legal pressure it could exert on publishers and intermediaries.
IP law solicitor Simon McGarr said a nation’s copyright laws are a reflection of that country’s approach to innovation.