By BARRY O’HALLORAN
THE GOVERNMENT is set to tackle illegal downloading of music and films in January by plugging a gap in the Republic’s laws that allows internet users access to sites that “pirate” this material.
Minister of State for Enterprise Seán Sherlock is to publish an order early in the new year that is expected to allow music publishers, film producers and other parties to go to court to prevent internet service providers from allowing their customers access to pirate websites.
The Department of Enterprise, Innovation and Jobs has written to music publisher EMI Ireland confirming the order will be published and incorporated into existing legislation in January. Mr Sherlock also said in a written answer to a parliamentary question that the order, or statutory instrument, would be published next month.
EMI Ireland recently warned the Government that it would take legal action against the State if the Government did not address the problem.
Its chief executive, Willie Kavanagh, is not ruling out going ahead with this if the statutory order does not give companies such as his a clear right to seek court injunctions against internet service providers that allow access to music and video piracy websites.
His company was involved in the High Court case that originally highlighted the loophole in Irish law in October last year.
EMI sought an injunction against UPC, ordering it to block access to websites that allowed illegal downloading. While the court found that EMI’s rights were breached, Mr Justice Peter Charleton pointed out that he could not grant the injunction as the Copyright Act did not provide for this remedy.
Mr Justice Charleton pointed out that such a provision was needed to bring the Republic’s legislation into line with EU law.