Home Knowledge Department Seeks Consultation on Amendment to Copyright Law

Department Seeks Consultation on Amendment to Copyright Law

The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation (the “Department”) has published draft Regulations to amend the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 (the “2000 Act”).  The objective of the Regulations is to introduce a mechanism to require internet service providers to block or divert traffic between internet users that engage in illegal downloading by giving the courts the power to grant appropriate injunctions.

As mentioned in our related article, amending legislation was inevitable following the decision of the High Court in the UPC case.

Two EU Directives, the Copyright Directive 2001 and the Enforcement Directive 2004, specifically require that the holders of copyright and related rights are in a position to apply for an injunction against intermediaries whose services are used by a third party to infringe their copyright or related right.

However, in the UPC decision, Mr. Justice Peter Charleton found that there was no legal basis to grant such an injunction in this jurisdiction as Ireland has not fully implemented the relevant Directives. 

As a result of this decision, and for the avoidance of doubt, the Department has deemed it necessary to restate Ireland’s compliance with the Directives.  The draft Regulations therefore seek to amend the 2000 Act to bring it in line with our European Union counterparts.

The Department notes that it is particularly conscious of the importance of online content and digital businesses in Ireland and, accordingly, it is simply seeking to ensure Ireland’s continued compliance with its obligations under EU law.  It also notes that such injunctions are available in all other EU member states by virtue of the Directives mentioned above.

The Department has now commenced a two week consultation period, which ends on 1 July 2011 and welcomes any comments which interested parties may wish to make on the content of the draft Regulations.

Contributed by David Cullen.