Wireless Telegraphy Offences
A person may not send or attempt to send by wireless telegraphy from the state or any ship in the territorial waters of the State or ship registered within the State indecent, obscene, or offensive communications, communications subversive to public order, false and misleading signals of distress, false and misleading messages to a ship or vessel or an aircraft in distress.
No person shall divulge the purport of any message, communication, or signal sent by wireless telegraphy. A person in breach of the provision may be subject on summary conviction to a fine of up to €5,000 and six months imprisonment or on conviction on indictment €250,000 and/or 12 months imprisonment.
It is not lawful for a person to use any apparatus for wireless telegraphy that interferes with the working or injuriously affects telegraphy in respect of which a licence is in force. The Commission may give notice requiring steps to be taken to terminate the interference. Failure to comply is an offence subject on summary conviction to a fine of €5,000 and on indictment a fine up to €250,000.
The Minister may make regulations in relation to electromagnetic radiation. There are regulations in relation to the control of interference for electric motors and ignition apparatus.
If a person uses apparatus for the purpose of interference with wireless telegraphy, is guilty of an offence subject on summary conviction to fine up to €1,270 and a fine of €127 per day or €2,540 on indictment and the same per day thereafter.
A prosecution by way of summary offence may be brought by the appropriate authority as above.
Pirate Radio Ships
Legislation dates from the 1960s era of pirate radio offshore in relation to offshore broadcasting. Broadcasting means broadcasting of sounds or visual images by wireless telegraphy for general reception. It is not lawful to broadcast from a ship or aircraft while it is over the State or adjacent to State waters. It is not lawful to broadcast from an Irish-registered ship or aircraft.
It is not lawful to broadcast from a marine structure in sea waters adjacent to the state or in its tidal waters. It is not lawful to broadcast from any other object in such waters, being either a structure affixed or supported or not being a fixed ship or aircraft. A person who procures the making of broadcasts in contravention of this provision is guilty of an offence.
Where a broadcast is made in contravention of the legislation, the master or operator is guilty of an offence. Any person being a citizen of Ireland who operates or participates in the operation of an apparatus by which a broadcast is made from a ship, aircraft, structure et cetera is guilty of an offence.
A person is guilty of an offence if he facilitates any of the above. A person who procures another person to do outside the state, anything which is done in the state, would constitute an offence is guilty of an offence.
Scope of Offences
The legislation applies to
- furnishing or agreeing to furnish to another ship or aircraft, knowing or having probable cause to believe that broadcasts are to be made in contravention of the Act.
- carrying on or agreeing to carry in a ship or aircraft apparatus for wireless telegraphy, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that broadcasts are to be made as above
- supplying, installing apparatus in a ship or aircraft with such knowledge.
- supplying any apparatus for wireless telegraphy for installation in a ship, structure, et cetera with such knowledge.
- repairing or maintaining any such apparatus for wireless telegraphy or having reasonable cause to believe the broadcasts are to be made in contravention of the legislation.
- supplying goods or materials for its operation and maintenance with such knowledge.
- engaging a person as an officer or member of crew.
- carrying by water or air, drugs or persons to or from it, knowing or having reasonable cause to so believe.
There is a range of other legislation designed to prevent broadcasts from ships and aircraft.
There are restrictions on
- supplying film or records with the intent that they be broadcast from any such place.
- making literary, dramatic or musical works with such intent
- making artistic works with such intent or
- participating in a broadcast, whether as an announcer or as a performer or by giving a speech
- advertising by means of a broadcast,
- publishing times or other details of broadcasts.
These provisions apply to acts done in the State in sea waters or ships.
Offences under the legislation are subject to summary conviction to a fine of up to €5,000 and imprisonment of three months or on indictment a fine of up to €250,000 or imprisonment of up to 2 years. Offences by body corporates may be subject to the conviction of directors, managers, or officers who consent to, connive, or whose neglect or default causes the offence. Offences may be prosecuted within two years.
Older TV Licence Legsilaiton
Formerly, the Wireless Telegraphy Act 1972 required TV dealers to register and make returns on the sales and leasing of televisions. The legislation was repealed.
The Minister may, by order, require persons in possession of apparatus or equipment to give details of their name and address, particulars of the equipment and the address at which it is installed.
An owner in relation to premises is a person other than the mortgagee not in possession, whether in his own right or as trustee or as agent for another, is entitled to receive the rack rent of the premises or a lessee or occupier, etc.
Further Broadcast Offences
A broadcast shall not be made from a premises or vehicle in the State unless made in accordance with a licence granted by the Commission. A person who is owner or in control of or in the management of a premises or vehicle from which a broadcast is made or who knowingly permits or suffers the same, or any person who operates, assists in the operation of apparatus by which broadcast is made is guilty of an offence.
A range of acts facilitating broadcasting in contravention of the above are themselves offences. This includes
- making available to another any premises or vehicle or other thing, knowing, or having reasonable cause to believe that broadcasts are to be made from it.
- Having, keeping or agreeing to keep apparatus or wireless telegraphy, knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that by means thereof broadcasts are to be made in contravention.
- supplying any apparatus or installing it, having reasonable cause to believe that the broadcasts are to be made in contravention
- repairing or maintaining any apparatus with reasonable cause to believe that broadcasts have or are to be made in contravention of the legislation.
A person who does any of the following with the intent, knowledge, belief or in the circumstances below, is guilty of an offence, including
- supplying film broadcast material, sounds etc.
- making literary, dramatic or artistic musical works for use in a broadcast in contravention of the legislation
- participating in a broadcast whether as director, producer, announcer etc.
- participating as producer, announcer, or deliverer of speech in the making of a film to be used in such broadcasts.
- advertising by means of a broadcast in contravention of the legislation or inviting another to advertise
- making an advertisement with the intent that it shall be so included.
- publishing times or programs, schedules, which relate to broadcasts which made, would contravene the legislation.
Persons guilty of offences above are subject on summary conviction to a fine up to €5,000 and on conviction on indictment of a fine up to €250,000.
The Commission may serve a notice on a provider of an electronic communication service or the ESB prohibiting a communications service or supply of electricity to premises where broadcasts are made in contravention of legislation.
A person who uses a telecommunication service for which he is a subscriber or a supplier of electricity or who enables or permits such supply to be used, promotes, furthers, or facilitates the business or whose activity consists of or includes broadcasts in contravention of the above is guilty of an offence.
The Broadcasting Act 1990 contains provisions prohibiting the interception of services without the consent of the licensee or service provider. A person may not
- intercept a service,
- suffer, or permit or do anything which enables such interception,
- possess, manufacture or supply, import et cetera any equipment which is designed or adapted for such use or
- publish information with the intention of assisting or enabling a person to intercept the service.
A person, being the owner or controller or manager of any premises, may not permit any action or conduct above. Contravention of the above is an offence subject on summary conviction to a fine up to €5,000 or on conviction on indictment up to €250,000.
Search warrants may be issued where there are reasonable grounds for believing that the apparatus is kept in contravention of the legislation. They may authorise a member of An Garda Siochana or an officer of the authority to search and enter premises.
Officers may retain things seized that they believe are evidence of a suspected offence. The property may be disposed of under the Police Property Act provided that if its release would involve a further contravention of legislation, it may be retained as though the appropriate owner could not be traced.
There are provisions for search warrants and general powers of search and seizure in respect of equipment. Authorised officers of the Commissions have powers to enforce the legislation. They may enter any premises at reasonable times where any activity in connection with electronic communication services and associated services is being undertaken.
They may require the production of books and records, including electronic records. They may secure the same for later inspection. They may remove books, records etc. They may require the person to co-operate with them, including working and use of electronic sources for the re-production of data etc.
It is an offence to interfere with or impede an authorised officer in the performance of his or her functions.