23 November 2014

Sherlock signs 'Sopa Ireland' into law

16:35, Adrian Weckler

The government has signed into law a controversial amendment to copyright law which will give music and film companies the right to seek injunctions against internet companies.

The amendment, signed by statutory instrument, accompanies a new consultation paper on possible reforms of copyright law. The government is seeking expressions of interest on the paper, which can be downloaded [here](http://www.djei.ie/science/ipr/crc_consultation_paper.pdf).

“On many previous occasions I have outlined the reasons why it is necessary for us to proceed to sign this statutory instrument in order to ensure compliance with our obligations under EU law,” said Sean Sherlock, Minister for Research and Innovation.

“This is a very complex area of law, which affects industries that are developing at lightning pace, and where the interests of many diverse and changing parties interact with each other.”

The amendment, dubbed ‘Sopa Ireland’ due to similarities with a US legal bill that was jettisoned last year, has drawn sharp criticism from internet service providers, social networking companies and freedom of expression advocates. It drew over 80,000 signatures in an online petition.

Last night, the chief executive of Google, which employs over 2,000 people in Dublin, described moves such as the US version of Sopa as "worrying".

"We need to act now to avoid the rise of this digital caste system," said Eric Schmidt, speaking at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

However, the move is supported by representatives of the music and film industries, which say it could be useful in combating online piracy.

“I am committed to reviewing and updating the copyright legislation currently in place in order to strike the correct balance between encouraging innovation and protecting creativity,” said Sherlock.

“This paper has been prepared by the Copyright Review Committee in response to submissions received and public engagement. I urge all interested parties, including information providers and ISPs, innovators, rights holders, consumers and end-users, to study it carefully and engage in a constructive debate on all the issues.”

*See the Minister's full announcement on the copyright amendment [here](http://www.djei.ie/press/2012/20120229c.htm).*

......

Contact journalist: adrian@businesspost.ie. Contact desk: digital@businesspost.ie.**