The provisions of the Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Act 2019 (the Act), which was signed into law on 26 June 2019, were commenced on 2 December 2019.

The only provisions which are not yet in effect are sections 2(1), 9 and 21, which will automatically come into operation on 26 December (i.e. 6 months from the passing of the Act on 26 June 2019).

The Act amends the Copyright and Related Acts 2000 and introduces certain recommendations of the Copyright Review Committee from their 2013 Report titled ‘Modernising Copyright’. The Act also recognises exceptions to copyright permitted by the Information Society Directive 2001/29/EC. The Copyright and Related Rights Acts 2000 and 2007 may be cited together as the “Copyright and Related Rights Acts 2000 to 2019”.

The Act enhances copyright and other intellectual property (IP) protection in the ‘digital era’ and enables right holders to enforce their IP rights more efficiently.

District and Circuit Court Jurisdiction

The Act confers jurisdiction on the District Court and the Circuit Court to hear and determine IP claims, including claims in relation to copyright infringement. The District Court is now empowered to hear actions related to small IP infringement claims, and the Circuit Court will hear claims in excess of €75,000, amending the Industrial Designs Act 2001, the Trade Marks Act 1996 and the Patents Act 1992.

This allows litigants to bring a claim alleging copyright or IP infringement in a more timely manner, and at a significantly lower cost than before, where any such claims were brought before the High Court or Commercial Court.

Amendments to Copyrights and Related Rights Act 2000

The Act makes the following amendments to the Copyrights and Related Rights Act 2000:

  • There is an exception for the use of copyright works to permit caricature, parody or pastiche without infringing copyright of the material.
  • The defence of ‘fair dealing with performances’ is also expanded to exempt criticism or review of a work, for the purposes of recording current events or for education, research and private study. This will also include any work on economic, political or religious matters by media businesses.
  • The period of time that a copyright in designs will be enforceable is extended from 25 years to the lifetime of the creator plus 70 years.
  • An exception for data mining of computational data for a non-commercial purpose by a person with lawful access to the work is exempted from infringement.

Exemptions

A number of exemptions introduced by the Act relating to education, research, and statistical data collection facilitate the continued use of copyright materials in classrooms.

The Patents Office becomes the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland

The “Patents Office” is now the “Intellectual Property Office of Ireland”. The title of the Controller of Patents Designs and Trade Marks also changed to the “Controller of Intellectual Property”.

The signing into law of the Act follows the adoption of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive (EU) 2019/790 by the European Parliament on 17 April 2019. EU Member States have until 7 June 2021 to implement the rules established by the Directive into national laws.