On 26 June 2019, the Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Act 2019 (the 2019 Act) was signed into law. The Act amends the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 and modernises Irish copyright law in accordance with the Report of the Copyright Review Committee on Modernising Copyright, published in October 2013. 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, along with Part 2 and Schedules 1 and 2 of the 2019 Act may be cited together as the Copyright and Related Rights Acts 2000 to 2019.
The purpose of the amendments in the 2019 Act is to make better provision for copyright and other intellectual property protection in the ‘digital era’ and to enable right holders to better enforce their IP rights in the District and Circuit Courts where the claims were too small to meet the requirements needed to go before the High Court.
The Act addresses certain societal needs such as amending the ‘education exception’ under the 2000 Act at section 15 by allowing the use of digital works in the classroom; expanding the research exception at section 19; making provision for data analytics at section 31; and facilitating persons with a disability getting access to works at section 25.
The Act includes 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 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.
- 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.
The signing into law of the Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Act 2019 gives greater protection to IP rights and recognises the varied situations where breach of such rights may arise due to the use of modern technology. The Act also recognises the high costs associated with IP litigation, thus permitting the taking of smaller claims before the District and Circuit Courts.
The exemptions related to education, research, and statistical data collection recognises that copyright materials on the internet have become some of the most important educational resources available which can continue to be relied upon in classrooms across the country.