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Record company taking Government to court over music piracy legislation

EMI, the record company behind Katy Perry and Coldplay, is taking the Government to court over claims Ireland is dragging its feet on introducing new anti-piracy laws, writes Jerome Reilly. At the heart of the dispute are long-promised regulations which would allow copyright holders to compel internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to websites that they consider to be engaged in piracy.

EMI Ireland, whose profits last year were down 50 per cent on 2010, is adamant that record companies should have the right to seek court injunctions against ISPs that allow access to piracy websites. But Minister of State Sean Sherlock has defended the State's handling of the issue and said that a new legal framework was being finalised.

"A High Court judgment has held that, by reason of provisions of the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000, an injunction is not available in cases of transient communications, and suggested that Ireland did not fully comply with EU law," he said last week. "For the avoidance of doubt, a legislative instrument is being finalised to restate the position that was considered to exist prior to this judgment. It is expected that this measure will be introduced this month."

John Comer, the newly elected president of Irish Creamery and Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA), has criticised the lack of detail in the Water Services Bill before the Dail. He rejected the idea that any agency would be allowed to "fill-in-the-blank-spaces" after the bill was made law. "This has all the looks of another one of these fiascos, where we are assured beforehand that the inspecting authorities will be very reasonable and fair only to then discover after the bill is made law that the standards that will apply are whatever standards the inspectors fancy," he said.

GARDAI and Department of Social Protection officials are closing the net on social welfare fraudsters in a number of counties, especially those close to the Border and in the midlands. It emerged yesterday that new measures were being introduced to verify the validity of identification documents presented by fraudsters to obtain payments through false PPS numbers.

Earlier in the week Garda Superintendant Noel Cunningham, of Cavan/Monaghan garda division, revealed that a major crackdown was now under way to eliminate social welfare fraud in the region.

Supt Cunningham made the disclosure during a case at Carrickmacross District Court at which a Lithuanian couple pleaded guilty to charges of collecting the job seekers' allowance at Ballybay, Co Monaghan, over a two-month period.

Sunday Independent