ISPAI Shocked by Rumours of Rushed Copyright Statutory Instrument to be Made Law Before this Government is Dissolved

February 23, 2011


ISPAI was contacted by national press today regarding information received from a Government source that an urgent statutory instrument was near completion to amend the Copyright Law and pass this before the Government was dissolved. Requried, they were told, to ensure Ireland would be in compliance with European legislative requirements identified by last year’s case taken by recording companies against UPC. The journalists were enquiring whether ISPAI had been consulted as the government spokesperson had implied industry views had been sought.

ISPAI can categorically state that no one from Department of Enterprise and Employment or any other Government Department has contacted ISPAI about this matter since before the UPC case. If these rumours are correct, ISPAI is quite taken aback that such serious matters should be a rushed through in the final hours of a government term and that ISPAI as the representative body of ISPs (and well known to Government) were not consulted on a matter directly concerning our members.

Any legislation prescribing measures to be applied by ISPs, to address alleged copyright infringements by Internet users, requires very careful consideration. ISPAI believes strongly that full consultation with all affected industry parties is necessary. Given the time scales of the national court cases involved and especially as closely related issues are before the European Court (SABAM vs. Scarlet – Belgium), an SI seems unwarranted right now and is being drafted with inappropriate haste.

It is vital that Government ensures a balanced approach and takes care that legislative measures do not have wider implications that could adversely affect the perception of Ireland to inward investors of Internet and digital e-commerce businesses – the knowledge economy – the very kind of enterprise we are endeavouring to attract to build employment and drive our way out of the current recession.

If the rumours are correct, ISPAI asks why is this matter is not being left to the next Government?