The Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Act 2019 (“the Act”) was signed into law by the President on 26 June 2019. The Act amends the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 and introduces certain recommendations of the Copyright Review Committee from their 2013 Report, “Modernising Copyright”.

The Act confers jurisdiction on the District Court and the Circuit Court to hear and determine intellectual property claims, including claims in relation to copyright infringement. This effectively allows for 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.

Section 12

Section 12 of the Act revises the existing law relating to “fair dealing” with a published work for the purposes of reporting current events. The amendment relaxes the confines of copyright law applying to a “media business” when the business communicates a work, which would otherwise be protected by copyright, and that work concerns economic, political or religious matters. The relaxation of the law will apply to such use unless the use of the work is expressly reserved. The use must also be accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement.

Section 13

Section 13 puts on a statutory footing the defence of fair dealing with copyright-protected work if the use is for the purposes of caricature, parody or pastiche.

Section 14

Section 14 introduces certain exceptions to copyright infringement where the protected work is used for text and data mining for non-commercial purposes. However, if the copied work is transferred to a third party without the copyright-holders’ authorisation, or where the protected work is used for a commercial purpose, the copyright will be infringed.

Section 15

Section 15 sets out in detail the exceptions to copyright law where the use of the work is for the purposes of education, teaching or scientific research. There are, however, limitations to these exceptions – notably, these provisions will only apply where the use of the protected work is for non-commercial purposes. The Act further extends certain exceptions to the use of copyright-protected work to librarians and archivists where the use of the work is undertaken for education, teaching or research purposes.

Section 22

Section 22 relates to the use of recordings of spoken words such as lectures and political speeches for the purpose of reporting and broadcasting. The use of such material will not infringe copyright law provided the use of the recording was not prohibited by the speaker or copyright owner, and provided that the record is a true and direct record of the spoken words.

Section 34

Section 34 extends to licensees the rights and remedies available to copyright holders to pursue copyright infringement proceedings against anyone who infringes copyright in the licensed works. Previously, the burden of enforcing copyright in the relevant works rested exclusively on the copyright holder.

The signing into law of the Act approximately coincides with the passage of the Copyright Directive through the European Parliament. The Copyright Directive is a more far-reaching reform of copyright law in the digital sphere but is unlikely to be transposed into Irish law before June 2021. For those reproducing copyright works (and reproduction can take many forms), it is important to be aware of the changes that will be effected by both the Copyright Act 2019 and the Copyright Directive, particularly in the context of digital content.

Hayes Solicitors advises on all aspects of copyright and intellectual property law across a variety of sectors, including media and advertising, technology, retail and consumer.