Copyright reform comes a little closer in Ireland

DJEI Brief for MinisterFurther to my post on the Brief (pdf) to the incoming Minister for Education, I note this morning that a similar Brief (pdf) to the incoming Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has been published on that Department’s website. Under the heading “immediate priorities in the months ahead” (section 1.3, p5) I was delighted to see the following priority:

(p) A Bill to provide for amendments in the Copyright area

It is proposed to submit for Government approval before summer 2016, a Memorandum for Government with draft Heads of a Bill seeking approval to draft a Bill aimed at achieving certain reforms and modernisation of certain aspects of copyright. [p8]

Similarly, under the heading “key priorities for the Innovation and Investment Division” (section 2.2, p22), I was delighted to see the following priority (emphasis added):

(b) Intellectual Property
(i) Implement a new certification scheme for Intellectual Property to enable small companies to qualify for the Knowledge Development Box (KDB) alongside legislation to underpin this initiative and, separately progress necessary legislative changes to patents legislation;
(ii) Continue preparatory work in the lead up to a referendum on ratification by Ireland of an international Agreement setting up a Unified Patent Court to adjudicate on patent litigation;
(iii) Progress amendments to copyright legislation in response to recommendations in the Report of the Copyright Review Committee.
(iv) Examine and negotiate proposals in the Intellectual Property area emerging from the European Commission in the context of the Digital Single Market and, the Single Market Strategy;
(v) Examination of legislative commitments in the Intellectual Property area to facilitate Ireland’s bid for upcoming major sporting events. [p23]

As to the detail of progressing amendments to copyright legislation, the Brief provides as follows (pp64-65):

Item
Progressing amending legislation in the copyright area in response to recommendations in the Report of the Copyright Review Committee

Summary
The Report of the Copyright Review Committee, an independent Committee appointed by the Minister was published in late 2013. The Committee was tasked with examining the Irish copyright framework to identify any areas that might be considered to create barriers to innovation and, to recommend a resolution to any problems identified in terms of how any barriers identified might be overcome. The report contains in excess of 60 recommendations covering a diverse range of copyright issues.

Following extensive analysis of the recommendations contained in the Report, the Department is currently developing the heads of Bill for a Copyright Bill for consideration by Government. This follows from an in-depth assessment of the complex legal issues involved in certain of the proposals with the Office of the Attorney General as well as examination of the proposals from a policy perspective. Where recommendations involved issues under the remit of other Government Departments, these Departments have also been consulted. Due consideration has also been given to evolving developments in the copyright context at EU level in particular.

Next steps/timeframe
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Lead officials: A/Sec: Dermot Mulligan; Anne Coleman-Dunne

I have mixed feelings about all those Xs. On the one hand, I think it’s a pity that the next steps and timeframe are redacted On other hand, I think it might be encouraging in so far as it means that the information is sensitive, which in turn suggests that we are at crucial stage in this process.

Finally, in the list of “primary Legislation under consideration” (section 7.2, p172), I was delighted to see the following item:

(k) Amending legislation to the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 in response to the recommendations of the Copyright Review Committee

Moreover, there is much in the Brief about the Department’s engagement with ongoing EU copyright developments. This is all very encouraging. As the title of this post provides, Copyright reform comes a little closer in Ireland.

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