Press council chief to chair public meeting on ‘Irish SOPA’

20 Mar 2012

The deadline has been extended on a public consultation on a proposed Copyright Review that arose from the signing of the controversial statutory instrument dubbed the Irish SOPA. The chairman of the Press Council of Ireland Daithi O’Ceallaigh will chair this Saturday’s public meeting on the matter.

The deadline has been extended to 5pm on Thursday, 31 May.

A public meeting will take place at the Robert Emmet Lecture Theatre in Trinity College this Saturday (24 March) at noon.

O’Ceallaigh, who is director general of the Institute of International and European Affairs and chairman of the Press Council of Ireland has agreed to chair the meeting.

The meeting will be divided into eight 15-minute question-and-answer segments, covering:

  • The proposed Copyright Council
  • Rights holders and collecting societies
  • Intermediaries
  • Users
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Heritage institutions
  • Fair use

Admission to the meeting is free and open to anyone but registration is necessary at

Background to the ‘Irish SOPA’

In recent weeks, Innovation Minister Sean Sherlock, TD, set in motion a public consultation that would contribute to an overall review of Ireland’s copyright law’s with both the Department of Enterprise and the Irish Internet Association gathering responses.

The consultation stems from the signing of a controversial statutory instrument critics have dubbed ‘Ireland’s SOPA’.

Sherlock told that the purpose of the exercise is to create legislation that will make Ireland one of the most advanced nations in terms of flexible copyright legislation that encourages innovation and at the same time protects rights holders and content creators.

However, when it emerged in the aftermath of the SOPA/PIPA furore in the US, many voiced concerns that that not only would the statutory instrument put ISPs at the mercy of the Irish courts in disputes over illegal downloads and result in unpopular three-strikes rulings, but that the instruments would have a devastating impact on innovation online.

The furore surrounding the change to the Copyright Act 2000 led to more than 80,000 people signing a Stop SOPA Ireland petition. It goes back to a 2010 case between EMI and UPC where Mr Justice Peter Charlton noted certain EU directives hadn’t been properly transposed to Irish law.

Critics fear that websites, social media networks and ordinary internet users could be held liable for all copyrighted material shared whether intentionally or non-intentionally.

They also fear that adhering to a heavy-handed law could impact the operations of internet companies that have located in Ireland.

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