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Minister Hanafin's office denies change to internet providers' legislation - for now

Rumours that a statutory instrument would be ‘rushed through’ tomorrow had emerged on the Silicon Republic website.

Minister Mary Hanafin, who says she is not rushing through the 'three strikes' legislation tomorrow
Minister Mary Hanafin, who says she is not rushing through the 'three strikes' legislation tomorrow
Image: Niall Carson/PA Wire/Press Association Images via PA images

MINISTER MARY HANAFIN’S office has told TheJournal.ie that legislation is NOT being rushed through tomorrow to enable judges to grant injunctions against Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

Yesterday, the Silicon Republic website published an article stating that:

The Government is believed to be rushing through a statutory instrument that will amend the existing Copyright Act and which will give judges the power to grant injunctions against ISPs in relation to copyright infringement cases.

Hanafin’s spokesperson said that they were confused as to why that was being reported that she had sanctioned this move for tomorrow. The spokesperson said that this is categorically not taking place tomorrow and they were unsure where the rumour came from.

However, the spokesperson said this legislation will have to be dealt with in the future. She added that a statement would be released in advance of the legislation being finalised, when it does occur. She said:

We don’t know where this came from. The full court judgement came through last October. We have to comply with that judgement. We are communicating constantly with the Department of Communications and the Attorney General.

There were fears that the statutory instrument could result in ISPs having to implement the ‘three strikes’ rule.

Record companies Warner Music, Sony BMG, Universal Music and EMI records agreed to a settlement with ISP Eircom in January 2009 to implement a ‘three strikes’ policy – this means illegal downloaders and filesharers would have their internet access cut off if it was proven they had committed copyright theft.

In the High Court last October, UPC successfully argued that the ‘three strikes’ rule was an agreement between Eircom and the labels and that other ISPs were not obliged by Irish law to monitor what their users do.

Mr Justice Peter Charleton ruled that laws to cut off users who illegally copy music files were not enforceable in Ireland, the Irish Times reported at the time.

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