There are a number of ongoing consultations in the area of copyright at the moment in Ireland. The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (the "Department") is seeking the views of interested parties in relation to three major areas of copyright law: an amendment to the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 (the "Act") akin to the "three strikes" law provided for in the Digital Economy Act and the HADOPI system in France, a proposed EU Directive on the permitted uses of orphan works and a review of the existing national copyright legislation as a whole.

"Three Strikes System"

The Department has proposed an amendment to the Act which would allow rights holders to apply to the High Court for an injunction against intermediaries whose services are used by a third party to infringe a copyright or related right. The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (the "Minister") is seeking to address an issue which arose last year in the High Court case of EMI Records (Ireland) Limited and others v UPC Communications Limited, where Mr Justice Charleton said the Act did not allow for the granting of injunctions in these circumstances. The proposed amendment will have a significant impact on the role service providers play in preventing copyright infringement in Ireland. The closing date for receipt of submissions is 29 July 2011.

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Orphan Works

Orphan works are works that are protected by copyright, but where the owner of the copyright or related right cannot be either identified or found. The absence of a known rights holder means that users are unable to obtain the required authorisation to use – reproduce and make available - the work. The Department is seeking views on the proposal from Europe to create a legal framework to ensure the lawful, EU cross-border online access to orphan works contained in online digital libraries or archives operated by a variety of institutions that are specified in the proposal when such orphan works are used in the pursuance of the public interest mission of such institutions. The closing date for receipt of submissions is 30 September 2011.

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Review of the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000

The Copyright Review Committee will examine the present national copyright legislation and identify any areas that are perceived to create barriers to innovation and identify solutions for removing these barriers and make recommendations as to how these solutions might be implemented through changes to national legislation. In particular, the Copyright Review Committee will examine the US style ‘fair use’ doctrine to see if it would be appropriate in an Irish/EU context. The Copyright Review Committee will produce a Final Report and submit it to the Minister by the end of 2011. The closing date for receipt of submissions is 14 July 2011. We know that quite a number of media outlets and organisations for journalists and other media participants intend to make submissions.

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