Dear Enda and Eamon,
The outgoing government -- which you trounced last Friday -- has put together a few documents in preparation for the introduction of a 3-Strikes law.
When your ministers for Communications and Enterprise get into their departments, they'll be told by department mandarins that this is one of the first things on their plate. Your new Attorney General might even send you a quick email about it.
But can you please stop to think about it, before simply agreeing to sign Ireland into an utterly useless legislative situation?
Such a law will have absolutely no effect on the practice of illegal filesharing. None. Zero. It hasn't worked in France. It hasn't worked in Britain. And it certainly won't work in Ireland.
On the other hand, it may well send a signal to huge, jobs-creating digital IT companies that Ireland is a place that tries to legislate away personal digital freedoms.
I'm hoping that's not what you both intended when you talked incessantly about the 'Road To Recovery' over the last four weeks.
The music industry, which crashed and burned in its recent high court case against UPC, is now foaming at the mouth, intimating legal action against the state if it doesn't "fall into line with European Copyright law".
The last government -- under the now seatless Minister for Communications, Eamon Ryan -- wisely chose to steer a course between what the music industry wants and what is in the interests of Ireland, as a whole.
It may be very tempting to simply introduce a 3-Strikes law. It may seem like the path of least resistance. After all, a bunch of bloggers are unlikely to sue the state, are they? But the music industry, which still prefers corporate jobs for big label executives over a workable, realistic, effective commercial strategy, will probably throw away its shareholders money in just such a legal suit.
It may be tempting to "avoid all of this hassle" by quickly introducing a 3-Strikes law. And yes, both Britain and France have done so.
But do we really want to send out the message that, digitally, we're the new France? Come to think of it, do we want to tell Google, Facebook, Apple and Twitter that, digitally, we're the new Britain?
We certainly do not.
So please, Enda and Eamon, steer a middle course. Don't just sign bills because it seems the easiest thing to do.
Yours sincerely etc.