The Minister for Research and Innovation, Sean Sherlock TD, recently announced the signing into law of the European Union (Copyright and Related Rights) Regulations 2012 (the “Regulations”). The Regulations seek to fill the apparent gap in existing copyright legislation and in the protection afforded to copyright holders, highlighted by the court in the EMI case in October 2010.
The Regulations amend the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 (the “Act”) by explicitly providing for the right of a copyright owner to apply to the High Court for an injunction against an intermediary whose services are used by a third party to infringe their copyright or related right.
They compel the Court to consider the rights of any person likely to be affected by virtue of the grant of an injunction and to give directions, such as requiring a person be notified, whenever it considers appropriate.
In the EMI case, Mr Justice Charleton decided that he was constrained by the Act in its current form and was unable to grant an injunction to prevent an infringement of copyrights against an ISP. The Act had to be amended in order to fully transpose the EU Copyright Directive and the Enforcement Directive (the “Directives”).
However, it is argued by businesses that that these amendments are not necessary and the Judge was misinformed during the case as regards Ireland’s non-compliance with the Directives.
Despite the ongoing debate, the Regulations have been in effect since 29 February 2012 and it is believed that proceedings against businesses, such as ISPs and telecoms companies, could begin imminently.
There may also be further changes ahead as the Minister has launched the next stage of the Copyright Review Committee review of Ireland’s copyright legislation and has implied that there are to be further updates to copyright legislation aimed at striking a balance between encouraging innovation and protecting creativity.