Apr 02

There’s Two Sides To Every Story – Minister Sean Sherlock Explains

by in copyright, Politics

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This is a slight departure from the stuff I normally post and while I have posted several times about the copyright debacle on the company blog, as well as covering it at length on the technology.ie podcastthis doesn't quite fit there either .. so it's here ..

Tomorrow there's going to be a public debate about copyright in the Science Gallery. I was contacted the week before last about participating, but I declined and put the organiser in contact with Paul Durrant from ISPAI instead.

(While I have very strong feelings about online copyright and related topics I thought that someone like Paul would be a better person to talk about it.)

Earlier today Simon McGarr published a piece on Broadsheet.ie claiming that Minister Sean Sherlock had threatened to withdraw from the event tomorrow if Simon attended.

Since I've been in touch with Minister Sherlock on a semi-regular basis since this debacle began I asked him what actually happened and what was actually said.

So he sent me over the below and I have his permission to publish it:

I don't know Simon McGarr personally. I have never met him and I don't know even what he looks like. Sean Nicholls and I have been in touch for some time to organise an open event on Copyright. This will take place tomorrow (Tues). At no stage did I say that if Mr. McGarr was to attend that I would cancel or that a "diary clash" would arise. That is just not true.

 I had stated to Sean Nicholls (organiser) that I wanted some balance on the podium. Mr. Murphy (boards.ie), Paul Durant (ISPAI) would act as panellists and John Kennedy (Silicon Republic) would moderate. McGarr's name was also suggested as a panellist. I stated that I did not want to share a podium with someone who generated an online campaign that falsely compared the Statutory Instrument to the US SOPA legislation. I stated to Sean that I had an issue with sharing a podium with Mr McGarr and I would not attend if he was on the podium. I wish to make it clear that I expressly stated that I had no issue with Mr McGarr attending the event and I would be happy for him to do so.

 I stated that I wanted to engage with people on this issue and that I was happy that Sean was doing his best to organise the event. I stated that SOPA was completely unrelated to the SI. I stated that Mr McGarr was responsible for causing some reputational damage to this country by deliberately misinterpreting the SI as SOPA.

 I felt strongly that, as Research Minister, I was responsible for funding Clarity and Deri and that we do more to attract inward investment from corporates and companies  which are based online than any other country in Europe,

 I felt strongly that this Government is working every day with start-up companies and that any person that started a campaign that deliberately misinterpreted that legislation should take responsibility for their actions in damaging this country's reputation. In that sense I reserved my right not to share a platform with any body who was acting solely in their own interests and not those of the wider online community who we meet and assist every day.

 

Have strong feelings on copyright? Then make them heard!

UPDATE 2100

Minister Sherlock has had a change of heart and has said he'd be happy to see Simon McGarr on the panel tomorrow:

 

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13 Responses to “There’s Two Sides To Every Story – Minister Sean Sherlock Explains”

  1. From John Handelaar:

    Michele: “Earlier today Simon McGarr published a piece on Broadsheet.ie claiming that Minister Sean Sherlock had threatened to withdraw from the event tomorrow if Simon attended.”

    Sherlock: “I stated to Sean that I […] would not attend if he was on the podium.”

    Claimed and then confirmed in plain English, by the looks of it. I see no ‘other side of the story’ here, merely a mealy-mouthed acceptance that Simon was entirely correct.

    Posted on April 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm #
  2. From limey_tank:

    “I stated that I did not want to share a podium with someone who generated an online campaign that falsely compared the Statutory Instrument to the US SOPA legislation. ”

    I must say, that’s a very weak argument. The thrust of the Statutory Instrument was similar enough to SOPA in that we’re handing over control of public resources to private interests without consultation or debate. (This point is so much more important than niceties or semantics)

    Also, it’s a great debating point, Sherlock could have made McGarr look the fool if the SI really was so distinct from SOPA…

    Posted on April 2, 2012 at 3:38 pm #
  3. From Darwin:

    Why doesn’t Sherlock confront McGarr (since he’s never met him) and put this to rest — he can explain all the differences between SI and SOPA.

    Also: “At no stage did I say that if Mr. McGarr was to attend that I would cancel”

    But: “I stated to Sean that I had an issue with sharing a podium with Mr McGarr and I would not attend if he was on the podium”

    So, McGarr can’t be on the podium but *can* be in the audience. There is an open Q&A session, right? Let’s try that instead.

    Also, when he says that he “reserved my right not to share a platform with any body who was acting solely in their own interests” — does this mean he’s going to stop meeting with IRMA, EMI, Warner, Sony, etc, and other industry lobbyists?

    Oh, wait. He meets them in private, not on a public platform…

    ::

    Posted on April 2, 2012 at 3:40 pm #
  4. From Sean Nicholls:

    Hi, my name is Sean Nicholls. The guy who organised the debate.

    There’s really not much for me to add to this at this stage, except to say that Minister Sherlock’s recollection of events fits in well with what actually happened.

    Simon was never uninvited, only asked to step down as a panellist. He knows this distinction because I invited him to participate in the debate in the same manner as everyone else will be able to, by taking part in the Q&A, which he agreed with.

    I never mentioned a scheduling conflict, I have no idea where he got that from. he must be mistaken

    There is a lot of inflammatory comments circulating, but the reality is that the public will have a chance to have their questions directly addressed to Minister Sherlock, in a public forum and everyone is welcome to take part.

    That was all I hoped for.

    Sean

    Posted on April 2, 2012 at 3:40 pm #
  5. From Jan Bosch:

    By that logic would Ireland Offline be excluded from a broadband panel because of the reputational damage done to the green jersey?

    Posted on April 2, 2012 at 3:49 pm #
  6. From EG:

    tl;dr – “It’s fine, I didn’t ask that he didn’t attend, only that he didn’t participate”

    Posted on April 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm #
  7. From Tim Redfern:

    “I wanted some balance on the podium.”

    ..by silencing those that would disagree? If you actually “wanted balance” you’d engage with the people who are “causing some reputational damage to this country” and set the record straight.

    Mr Sherlock does it again

    Posted on April 2, 2012 at 3:59 pm #
  8. From shane:

    “In that sense I reserved my right not to share a platform with any body who was acting solely in their own interests and not those of the wider online community.”

    If the issue is people acting solely in their own interests, as opposed to the wider online community, I can think of several names I would put ahead of Simon McGarr.

    Posted on April 2, 2012 at 4:40 pm #
  9. From Charly Julienne:

    That’s some masterful spin there by Sherlock.
    McGarr complained about being essentially forced to leave the panel, not the event entirely.
    Sherlock then misdirects that into saying he has no objection to McGarr attending, just not sharing the panel… The mind boggles.

    Posted on April 2, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

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