Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation Drafts New Copyright Bill to Modernise Copyright for the Digital Age

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys T.D. and Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan T.D. today 13th March 2018, welcomed the publication of the Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Bill 2018.

Copyright protects creative outputs such as books, films, music, software and television broadcasts against acts such as copying or unauthorised reproduction. This Bill also makes some additional amendments to other intellectual property law, including industrial designs, patents and trademarks. The Bill is intended to make better provision for copyright and other intellectual property (IP) protection in the digital era and to enable rightholders to better enforce their IP rights in the courts. It also addresses a host of other important societal needs including:

• expanding the education exception to allow the use of digital works in the classroom or through access to secure school networks, such as students using school iPad at home to access material held in school databases or for watching lectures over the internet;
• expanding the research exception and making provision for data analytics through a new exception for text and data mining;
• facilitating persons with a disability getting access to works by expanding the disability exception to use new technologies to adapt works to the needs of persons with a disability, allowing persons with a disability or authorised entities to make necessary adaptations to books, audio-visual works or other copyright work themselves using modern technologies.

Minister Humphreys said “that the Bill contains many important provisions that will be of great benefit to both rightholders and wider society. In particular, I wish to highlight that this Bill will provide for the greater use of copyrighted works by persons with a disability. Also, given my previous role as Minister with responsibility for the creative sector, I am delighted to see the potential for musicians, authors, photographers, other creators and owners of trademarks to better defend their work from infringement where those cases are too small to pursue through the High Court.”

Minister Halligan stated that “as Minister with responsibility for Ireland’s intellectual property regulatory regime I welcome the provisions contained in this Bill and anticipate that they will be of particular interest to those engaged in scientific and other research as well as those involved in education and training. The Minister further added that “the provisions contained in the Bill will enhance Ireland’s reputation for the protection of intellectual property which will further strengthen our efforts to develop an innovation economy.”

Minister Humphreys expects that the Bill will be progressed through the Houses of the Oireachtas in the coming months.


Tackling IP Infringement:
To tackle the issue of intellectual property infringement, the Bill extends jurisdiction of the Circuit Court and District Court to include IP claims. This allows rightholders across all IP in Ireland the opportunity to seek redress and bring lower value intellectual property infringement claims for relief in civil proceedings within the limits of those courts.

Other important provisions included in the Bill aim to create an Innovative environment to allow businesses to grow and compete globally, such as:

• making it an infringement, in the context of photographs, to tamper with metadata associated with the photographic works;

• allowing libraries, archives and educational institutions to make a copy of a work in its collection for preservation purposes and for catalogues for exhibitions etc.;

• amending the term of protection for copyright in designs from a 25-year term to life of the creator plus 70 years, in order for Ireland to comply with our international obligations;

• creating an exception for use of copyright works to allow for caricature, satire and parody; and

• extending the concept of fair dealing in copyright works for purposes of news reporting.

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