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Name-checked in the Seanad

So, after I posted this post about Aslan’s imaginary illegal downloads, someone on Twitter linked to this comment by Senator Paschal Mooney (Fianna Fail), in the Seanad the next day, repeating the incorrect Aslan factoid:

Sen. Paschal Mooney (Fianna Fail): There is a perception that the big five record companies, all international companies, have been ripping off the consumer for many years. I do not want to be seen as an apologist for the music industry, but at the lower level I can give a specific example to highlight the impact of illegal downloading on Aslan, an Irish band. It has sold 6,000 copies of its current album, but there have been 22,000 illegal downloads. […] Why must we wait for a High Court judgment to be made before we introduce relevant legislation?

It appears a few people, Adam Beecher for one, got in touch with the Senator by email. To my surprise, a couple of days later, I got some Twitter messages telling me that I’d been mentioned in the Seanad! Indeed, here it is:

Sen. Paschal Mooney (Fianna Fail): Last week on the Order of Business I raised an issue relating to illegal downloading of music on the Internet which followed on a court case which the major international record companies had lost that had been taken the previous day. I asked the Leader what possible legislation could be introduced to address this gap, and I am repeating the request. I have had quite a significant amount of response to the comments I made last week, specifically from persons who state that the figures quoted in my report, and also the figures quoted in the court case to defend the record companies’ position, are inaccurate, and I was asked by a number of those who emailed me to correct the record. Having investigated this further – I recommend to the House that those who are interested log on to – there is no doubt that the figures that have been quoted to support the court case, which was subsequently lost, are not accurate. It related to the group Aslan. I do not want to delay the House on this other than to correct the record in that I put the figures as I had received them in good faith and such has been the response to the comments I made in the House last week that I feel obliged to correct the record and state that there is no doubt but that the figures that have been used are, at best, suspect.

It would be important if the Leader could have the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Deputy Batt O’Keeffe, come to the House to give some indication of his proposals because the music industry is currently lobbying in this House and in the other House to have legislation changed to benefit it. However, there is a wider view that illegal downloading will continue irrespective of what happens, the record companies are now on the defensive and there are other alternatives that could be brought forward such as licensing those who wish to download. In that context, I would be interested in the Leader’s response.

A few comments in response:

  • Credit is due to Senator Mooney in that he admitted that he’d been misled, and corrected the record in that regard.

  • it’s amazing to see that the democratic process has opened up to this degree. I would have never expected to have this degree of input to our elected representatives without having to go through more traditional channels (face-to-face meetings etc.)

  • Finally: ‘The music industry is currently lobbying in this House and in the other House to have legislation changed to benefit it’. That is very, very worrying. Indeed, suzybie noted on Twitter:

@jmason not sure if you caught it but I saw Willie K and his mates entering Dáíl last Wednesday evening. FF backbenchers were being met

McGarr solicitors have been in touch with the relevant Ministers requesting that Digital Rights Ireland be included in any discussions regarding legislative change. This will be one to keep an eye on.