In Ireland, the Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Act (2019) replaces the previous Copyright and Related Rights Act (2000) in setting out the rights of copyright owners as well as penalties for infringements. The law intersects creative works with information technology law and data protection law. The policy process of modernising copyright law, undertaken by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, began back in 2011 and involved the 2013 report Modernising Copyright of the Copyright Review Committee. The Committee was established to identify any barriers to innovation in the digital environment, and developing proposals for reducing barriers in order to provide greater support for growth and jobs in the digital industry. The 2019 Act also includes certain exceptions permitted by the Information Society Directive 2001/29/EC. The act provides stronger protections of copyright and other intellectual property (IP) in the digital era. It also enables the right-holders to better enforce their IP rights in the courts.
With up to 80% of corporate value now represented by intellectual property assets (IPRs) such as patents, trademarks, copyright and designs, the main focus of the 2019 legislation is on the strengthening of legal protection of the commercial assets relative to the digital age. However, other issues required amendments also. The Act makes a number of amendments including:
- Renaming the “Patents Office” to the “Intellectual Property Office of Ireland” reflects the contemporary role of “the Office”, which is in line with the more standardised naming convention for such offices across the EU.
- New Court Jurisdiction: Allowing owners of intellectual property to pursue lower value IP infringement claims in the District and Circuit Courts which may result in a reduction in litigation costs; As a result of this amendment, infringement actions by copyright owners will now be heard quicker and will incur lower legal costs than if proceedings were brought in the High Court.
- Research and Education: Making it easier for researchers (non-commercial) to use text and data mining tools by expanding the current exception. The existing copyright exceptions for education is expanded, to allow teachers to display works on a whiteboard to illustrate a point, or to provide education by means of distance learning and education over the internet, in line with the changing methods of providing education and training in Ireland.
- Creative: The term of protection for copyright in designs and artistic works is expanded from a 25-year term to life of the creator plus 70 years. In relation to photography, it is now an infringement to tamper with metadata associated with the photographic works. The authorship of a film soundtrack accompanying a film is to now be treated as part of the film. The use of copyright works is covered by an exception to allow for caricature, pastiche and parody.
- Media: In the context of recent fake news issues related to the re-use of news material, the 2019 Act extends the exception to copyright for news reporting.
Viewed strictly in relation to artistic works, the provisions of the 2000 and 2019 Acts protect:
- Original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works
- Film, sound recordings, broadcasts and the typographical arrangement of published editions
- Computer software and non-original databases
An ‘artistic work’ includes a work of any of the following descriptions, irrespective of their artistic quality: (a) photographs, paintings, drawings, diagrams, maps, charts, plans, engravings, etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, prints or similar works, collages or sculptures (including any cast or model made for the purposes of a sculpture); (b) works of architecture, being either buildings or models for buildings; and (c) works of artistic craftsmanship.
The legal rights encompassed by the Act include a right of the creator to prevent others from exploiting the work (taking account of the information society and the digital age). The creator has a right to charge a fee for the reproduction of works even after resale. The creator also has ‘moral rights’, that include the right to be identified as the author of the work, the right to prevent mutilation or distortion or other derogatory alteration, as well as the right not to have a work falsely attributed to them. The Act gives the author of a work the exclusive right to authorize making the work available, copying, and for a period of 70 years.
Authors societies and copyright collection agencies
The Irish Visual Artists Rights Organisation (IVARO) is a not for profit organisation representing over 1500 Irish visual artists. The Artists Resale Right (ARR), also known as droit de suite (right to follow), has been in operation in Ireland since 2006. The regulation entitles artists to receive a royalty each time their work is resold by an auction house, gallery or art dealer.
The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) is an authors’ society established as a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG). IMRO is a member of the European authors societies network GESAC. IMRO’s main function is to collect and distribute royalties arising from the public performance of copyright works, ie. music used anywhere outside of the domestic environment. This is mainly carried out through licensing agreements in line with the Copyright & Related Rights Act (2000-2019). As of January 2016, IMRO also acts as agent for Phonographic Performance Ireland (PPI), collecting public performance royalties on behalf of record producers and performers. PPI was established in 1968 to act as a central administrator of record company rights in the public performance, broadcasting and reproduction of their recordings. PPI is owned by its Irish and multinational record company members.
Run by performers for performers, the Recorded Artists Actors Performers (RAAP) is a not-for-profit organisation set up after the Copyright and Related Rights Act (2000-2019) to ensure that musicians receive the performance royalties that are due to them.
The Mechanical Copyright Protection Society Limited (MCPS) is an organisation that represents thousands of composers and publishers of music in Ireland. By way of reciprocal agreements with other organisations around the world, MCPS also represents the interests of music copyright owners in other countries. MCPS licenses to companies and individuals who record its members’ musical works and then collects and distributes the royalties payable under those licences. This service is available to anybody who wants to record music including record companies, independent production companies and others. MCPS also licenses the importation of recordings from outside of the EU.
The Motion Picture Licensing Corporation (MPLC) provides licensing for public broadcasting. Whenever audio-visual content is being viewed outside the private home, it is considered a ‘public performance’ where legal authorisation is needed to avoid copyright infringement. MPLC licences these public performances of audio-visual content in a public location, such as shops, waiting rooms, reception areas, bars and restaurants, coaches, schools, activity centres, children’s nurseries, and care homes.
The Newspaper Licensing Ireland Ltd (NLI) was established in 2002 to administer the copyright in original works published on behalf of member publishers, and to promote a culture of copyright understanding and compliance.
The Irish Copyright Licensing Agency CLG (ICLA) is a non profit-making licensing body, defined by the Copyright & Related Rights Act (2000) that issues licences for the re-use of print and digital works to educational institutions, businesses and other organisations. They permit copying within certain rules from Irish as well as overseas publications. They issue licencing for copyright holders of content in books, magazines or journals.