The Minister for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock has released a brand new statement regarding the ACTA agreement – the previous can be read here.

The agreement, which was signed February 29th, saw Ireland formally commit to pursuing a stronger crackdown on piracy in goods as outlined in Directive 2001/29/EC. The announcement at first fell on deaf ears, due to a overwhelming concentration of energy used to oppose the SOPA act, but according to Minister Sherlock, this agreement is nothing to be concerned about as he believes the “High Court now has significant guidance” to pursue the “implementation” of the legislation:

A Chara,

I would like to update you regarding the enactment of the European Union (Copyright and Related Rights) Regulations 2012.

I fully acknowledge the concerns that have been expressed by you regarding the introduction of the European Union (Copyright and Related Rights) Regulations 2012 which were signed into law on 29th February, 2012.   I wish to re-emphasise that it has been necessary to introduce this legislative measure to restate the position that was thought to exist in the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000 regarding injunctions against intermediaries prior to the High Court Judgement of Justice Charleton in the case of EMI & others –v- UPC and to ensure that Ireland is compliant with our obligations under EU law.

I am satisfied that the High Court now has significant guidance in the implementation of this legislative measure arising from the underpinning EU Directives, as interpreted by the recent Court of Justice of the European Union case law, to ensure that any remedy provided will uphold the following principles:

• Freedom to conduct a business enjoyed by operators such as ISPs;
• The absolute requirement that an ISP cannot be required to carry out general monitoring on the information it carries on its network;
• Any measures must be fair and proportionate and not be unnecessarily complicated or costly;
• The fundamental rights of an ISPs’ customers must be respected, namely their right to protection of their personal data and their freedom to receive or impart information.

I am determined to ensure that Ireland will be a premier location where innovation can flourish and where innovation is facilitated by our copyright laws and data protection regime.  In this regard, I am committed to reviewing and updating the Copyright legislation currently in place in order to strike the right balance between encouraging innovation and protecting creativity.

In this context, I am particularly anxious that the Consultation Paper of the Copyright Review Committee, which was launched on 29th February, 2012, is carefully studied by all interested parties to stimulate a constructive and well informed debate on these issues.  This is a wide-ranging Consultation Paper which examines the current copyright legislative framework to identify any areas of the legislation that might be deemed to create barriers to innovation.  The Consultation Paper is available to download at the following link: http://www.djei.ie/science/ipr/crc_statement.htm.

I would like to encourage the deepest engagement by all interested parties in the consultation process which has been launched in order to stimulate a constructive and well informed debate on all of the issues raised in this rapidly evolving area.

I am confident that the work being carried out by the Copyright Review Committee together with the interaction and input of all of the interested parties will result in establishing Irish copyright law on a firm footing to encourage innovation, foster creativity and meet the challenges of the future with confidence.

Yours sincerely,

Seán Sherlock TD
Minister for Research and Innovation

If you need to contact Minister Séan Sherlock to voice your concerns, you can do so through here.