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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 18 May 1993

Vol. 430 No. 8

Written Answers. - Copyright Charges.

Jim O'Keeffe


29 Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment if his attention has been drawn to the complaints of many publicans, shopkeepers, disco proprietors and others because of arbitrary copyright charges being imposed without appeal; and whether he will amend the Copyright Act, 1963, to ensure a fairer arrangement for thousands of individual small businesses throughout the country.

I am aware of the position in relation to copyright royalties for the playing of music in public. The Copyright Act, 1963 provides for dispute settlement by the Controller of Patients, Designs and Trade Marks in such cases. The Controller is independent in the exercise of his statutory functions and I cannot, of course, comment on cases which are sub judice. I am informed, however, that there are 62 cases involving copyright disputes before the controller but most of these are in suspense pending the outcome of an appeal to the Supreme Court on a preliminary decision of the controller.

Copyright law in Ireland must, of course, comply with our international commitments in this area, notably the Berne Convention for the protection of literary and artistic works and the Rome Convention for the protection of performers, producers of phonograms and broadcasting organisations. Irish legislation will also have to give effect to a number of EC copyright measures; to intellectual property provisons which may arise from the current GATT discussions; and to the copyright provisions of the European Economic Area Agreement.
To comply with all these obligations, amendment of the Copyright Act, 1963 will be required. My intention is to carry out a review of the Act which will incorporate the necessary amendments to comply with the obligations referred to and to implement any other changes considered useful or beneficial in the Irish context. My aim is to seek the correct balance between the protection of copyright owners and the users of copyright material.