The Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Act 2019 ("the Act") came into full operation on 2 December 2019. The Act amends the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 and implements recommendations made by the Copyright Review Committee in their 2013 Report entitled "Modernising Copyright". The Act refashions copyright law in Ireland and seeks to make better provision for copyright and other intellectual property ("IP") protection in the digital era. It also enables rights-holders to better enforce their IP rights in Irish Courts.
The primary amendments introduced by the Act are as follows:
The "Patents Office" has changed its title to the "Intellectual Property Office of Ireland" ("IPOI"). This rebranding aims to clarify and better reflect the role of the IPOI in managing a range of intellectual property rights including registered trademarks and designs, patents and supplementary protection certificates as well as certain statutory functions under the Act. The new name also aligns with those of many similar agencies and offices abroad, making it easier for individuals and rightsholders to identify the statutory office in Ireland which has responsibility for the management and registration of intellectual property rights.
New Court Jurisdiction
The Act extends the jurisdiction of the Circuit and District Courts to include certain IP claims. As a result, IP rightsholders are now eligible to bring certain claims in lower courts. Matters may now be heard in a timelier manner and will incur fewer legal costs than if such proceedings were brought in the Commercial Court (which is the dedicated IP court of the High Court). At present, the jurisdiction of the District Court and Circuit Court when hearing claims is €15,000 and €75,000 respectively.
Other amendments introduced by the Act include:
- The term of protection in copyright in designs and artistic works has risen from 25 years to the life of the creator, plus 70 years.
- Licensees of copyright are now afforded the same rights and remedies available to copyright holders to pursue copyright infringement claims. Previously only the copyright holder could take such proceedings.
- Authorship of a film soundtrack accompanying a film is to now be treated as part of the film.
- It is now an infringement to tamper with metadata associated with photographic works.
- A range of exceptions to Copyright
have been created by the Act, including for the purposes of:
- Education, teaching and scientific research;
- Text and data mining (for non-commercial research);
- Criticism or review of a work;
- Caricature, parody and pastiche;
- News-reporting and broadcasting; and
- Display of works by libraries and archives in their permanent collections.
The Act undoubtedly introduces significant changes that go a long way towards modernising the copyright regime in Ireland, which is most welcome. The Act acknowledges the uses of modern technology in society and takes consideration of the varied situations whereby breaches of IP rights may arise.
Originally published 20 August, 2020
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