Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ireland Looks To Add Fair Use To Copyright Law... And This Is Seen As Radical?

Following on the UK's recent review of copyright laws, supposedly to look at ways to add things like US-style fair use exceptions, it looks like Ireland may be considering something similar. The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, announced that he's heard from enough businesses that copyright is holding back some innovative businesses models, and one suggestion he's interested in would be to see fair use in Irish copyright law:
Some companies have indicated that the current copyright legislation does not cater well for the digital environment and actually creates barriers to innovation and to the establishment of new business models. Moving towards a US-style 'fair use' doctrine is one suggestion that has been made.

I am determined to respond to these suggestions in a comprehensive and timely manner. It is not wise to make changes to this extremely complex area of legislation without first considering the issues in detail.

Therefore, I have commenced a time-limited review of the law in the area to be conducted by three industry experts. The review will include a full consultation process with all relevant stakeholders, and the entire process will be complete within six months.
This is positioned in the article as being "radical." Yeah, that kind of shows you the state of copyright laws these days: when a cautious review of copyright laws to see if a minor exception that is already known to be successful in the US might possibly under certain conditions makes sense, it's described as "radical reform."

Of course, what's really surprising about this is that, following a recent court ruling in Ireland that said that ISPs couldn't be forced to terminate accounts of people accused of copyright infringement, the industry had been pushing in the other direction.

Of course, I fully expect that this will lead to a similar attack on fair use in Ireland to what we've seen in the UK lately. Remember, the UK publishers claimed that fair use strangles innovation and others claimed that fair use is bad because it leads to lawsuits. Both arguments are laughable, but seem to have been effective in the UK, so expect to see the same thing in Ireland.

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