Tuesday 12 December 2017

Anti-piracy web rules 'no danger to YouTube'

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

JUNIOR Enterprise Minister Sean Sherlock declared last night that popular websites such as YouTube would not be affected by new anti-piracy rules.

He was defending a statutory instrument which will allow film and music companies to seek a High Court order to force internet service providers to block access to websites guilty of piracy.

Mr Sherlock said this did not mean that websites such as YouTube would be halted just because one user was not acting legally. He said he had faith in the courts to act in a way that was proportionate.

"Why would an Irish court in an Irish domain shut down a website that has millions of users for one person?" he asked.

The introduction of the statutory instrument to amend the Copyright Act 2000 has been opposed by more than 77,000 people in an online petition which compares it to the controversial "Stop Online Piracy Act" (SOPA) proposed in the US. It has sparked fears that online companies could be shut down and that internet access for law-abiding users could be curtailed.

But Mr Sherlock said the Government was bringing in the statutory instrument because the State was potentially exposed to legal action if it did not comply with EU directives on copyright law.

"I want to restate -- this is not SOPA legislation. This is balancing the right of the copyright holder against the rights of the individual," he said.

But Independent Wicklow TD Stephen Donnelly said it was possible that if someone posted a link (to pirated material) on YouTube or Facebook, a court order could be given to close everybody's access to it.

Technical experts had told him that providers of illegal material would be able to get around court injunctions "in around five minutes".

Irish Independent

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