knowledge | 22 November 2018 |

Copyright - What’s New?

Copyright Directive

On 12 September 2018, the European Parliament voted to adopt the proposed Directive on copyright in the digital single market (the “Directive”), following a rejection by MEPs of the draft Directive earlier in the summer. In a press release dated 12 September 2018, it was noted that the European Commission hopes that the text will be finalised by the end of 2018.  

One major delaying factor in passing the Directive has been the reaction of industry stakeholders to two controversial Articles:

  • Article 11 provides for ancillary copyright for press publishers so that they may obtain ‘fair and proportionate’ remuneration for the digital use of their publications by information society service providers. This copyright will not extend to hyperlinks accompanied by words and will not prevent legitimate non-commercial use of works by individual users.
  • Article 13 and the accompanying recitals impose various obligations on online content sharing service providers, including that they cooperate with rightholders to ensure the functioning of licensing agreements and that in the absence of reaching licensing agreements with rightholders, such providers must take, in cooperation with the rightholders, ‘appropriate and proportionate measures leading to the non-availability on those services’ of infringing works. The text also includes a transparency obligation and requires Member States to put in place ‘effective and expeditious’ redress mechanisms to deal with related disputes and complaints.

The European Parliament may now start negotiations with the Council of the EU, which may lead to further amendments. The draft of the Directive resulting from these negotiations will be subject to a final vote of the European Parliament, which is anticipated to take place in late 2018/early 2019.  Once passed, Member States will have then two years to transpose the Directive into national law.  

Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Bill 2018

The Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Bill 2018 (the “Bill”), which was initiated in March 2018 and is currently undergoing debate in the Seanad, is the result of the 2013 report by the Copyright Review Committee, ‘Modernising Copyright’.  The Bill was included in the recently published Government legislative programme for autumn 2018.

The Bill implements several recommendations of the Copyright Review Committee, including the following:

  • The extension of the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court and District Court to hear intellectual property infringement claims, making it easier for copyright holders to seek relief in respect of lower value claims.
  • The introduction of an exception for use for text and data mining where this is carried out in the context of non-commercial research.
  • The inclusion of several optional exceptions provided by Directive 2001/29/EC including the extension of the fair dealing defence to cover news reporting and an exception for use for the purposes of caricature, parody or pastiche.
  • The provision of a new 25 year copyright term (excluding moral rights) where a previously unpublished work is made available for the first time (subject to express consent by the owner of ‘the physical medium in which the work is embodied, or on which the work is recorded’).

Once the Bill passes to committee stage in the Seanad, it will be considered by the relevant committee and amendments may be made to the Bill.

This document has been prepared by McCann FitzGerald LLP for general guidance only and should not be regarded as a substitute for professional advice. Such advice should always be taken before acting on any of the matters discussed.