Steer your computer to for a new development in Ireland; online consultation (mandated by motion in both houses of parliament) on the drafting of a new Broadcasting Act. (It’s not online-only…alternatives are here).

This bill hasn’t been introduced in either house of parliament – so it’s unusual enough that the draft is publicly available. (‘Heads’ include full legal text but haven’t been approved by the Cabinet, to the best of my memory). The online tool allows you to see the commentary and full text for each provision, and to give a response or responses, section-by-section.

The bill itself – well I have a lot to say on it. It deals with public broadcasting funding, the defintion of a TV (for TV licence purposes), complaints, licences, sanctions, and more. But not right now. I don’t know if the good people on the relevant Committee are planning to publish responses. I promise to publish mine, anyway. And to ask them whether they will publish what they receive, as is the case in more traditional email-us-your-thoughts consultation processes.

Obligatory nitpicking (from terms):

The material featured on this site is subject to Government copyright according to the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000. The material may be downloaded to file or printer for personal use only. Where this material is being issued to others, the source including URL and copyright status must be acknowledged.

So a journalist who downloads it for the purpose of news reporting is breaching the terms? And why is downloading it the problem now, rather than reproduction or exploitation? Surely a download is permissible regardless of purpose, and it’s the subsequent (mis)use that is relevant?

The permission to reproduce Government copyright material does not extend to any material on this site, which may be the property of a third party. Authorisation to reproduce such material must be obtained from the copyright holders concerned.

Weeeellll, how’s about that goodly English? “any material on this site which may be…” is clearly what they mean. Or is it actually the case that all of the material on the site is the property of a third party?

I don’t think it’s ever been (seriously) argued that material on a website is ‘property’ – someone may have intellectual property rights, yes, but they own it? Hello?

And finally, the real howler: “Authorisation to reproduce such material must be obtained from the copyright holders concerned.” What they mean, of course, is “authorisation to reproduce such material in violation of copyright law must be obtained from the copyright holders concerned”. Of course.