Emotions ran high at an explosive debate at The Music Show on Saturday, in which the Irish Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan TD took part alongside SEG’s Marc Marot, Victor Finn (Chief Executive, IMRO), Paul Brady & Louis Walsh.
In a lively question and answer session, Corr spoke from the floor and was highly critical of what she called the Government’s “laissez faire” record on artists’ rights in relation to the illegal downloading of music.
“I just recorded an album. I employed a producer, a studio, I paid the orchestra to come in, the guy who did the score,” she told the Minister. “I don’t understand why they get paid and I don’t get paid (by people who download the album). It’s a basic right to be paid for your work.”
On the Government’s inaction in relation to illegal downloading, she was clear in her condemnation. “I feel the government have a very laissez faire approach to the whole thing,” she said. “Implementation needs to happen. A Digital Economy Act needs to be brought in to Ireland. Legislation needs to be put through and implemented.”
Minister Ryan refused to commit to tackling the issue through legislation, citing the high number of jobs in the computer industry. The Minster argued that if the music industry and the ISPs would co-operate, this would be much more effective.
“Let’s actually meet and have some sort of consultative space,” the Minister said, “where you can have both computing industries or ISP industries and musical industries sitting down and sharing some ideas, not just to do it through the courts, but to do it the smarter way, collaboratively.
“I would hope to have such a forum in place by the end of this month, in the hope of taking that sort of approach, rather than just a legalistic approach,” he told the audience.
John Reid, CEO of Warner Music Europe, also spoke from the audience. He was openly sceptical of plans unveiled by the Minister during the debate, for talks involving the ISPs, expert academics and other interested parties. Reid said that this would be a protracted and probably ineffective talking shop.
“Don’t get a bunch of guys from my old university,” said Reid, who was Ents Officer in Trinity College in the 1980s. “It’ll take a year and you’ll be out of office by then. Move now and follow your nose.”
Reid urged the Minister to roll out the three strikes rule to all ISPs. “In Sweden, the introduction of a new law was enough to make sure music sales grew in a year. Put a law in place. It doesn’t hurt the ISPs,” said the record company boss.