Written Answers. - Copyright Legislation.

Mary O'Rourke

Question:

103 Mrs. O'Rourke asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment the progress, if any, being made in his Department with the drafting of new copyright legislation; and when he intends to introduce this legislation. [17917/95]

The Intellectual Property Unit, IPU, of my Department is actively engaged in a comprehensive review of Irish copyright law. The review is taking account of:

(i) our international obligations under 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;

(ii) EU legislation on,inter alia, rental and lending, cable and satellite, broadcasting and duration;

(iii) technological developments;

(iv) the legitimate interests of both suppliers and users of copyright material and

(v) the need to ensure that copyright law does not impede legitimate creative activity.

In the initial stages of its review the IPU received a substantial number of comprehensive written submissions from interested parties and afforded each group which made a submission an opportunity to add to the written material orally. The IPU has recently completed this phase of the review process and commenced drafting the heads of consolidating legislation in this extremely difficult and technical area.

The Deputy will be aware that copyright involves private property rights and that any legislation that expands the rights of one group will lead to additional demands on others. Accordingly, there is a need to ensure that the Bill, when complete, strikes a balance between the interests of rights owners on the one hand and users on the other, whilst encouraging creativity in all spheres of economic life.

It is my intention to bring forward this legislation as soon as possible but the Deputy will appreciate that given the difficulties and technical issues involved, the importance of the legal rights provided for and the nature of our international obligations, we must proceed cautiously. The Deputy can be assured, however, that there will be no delay in processing the legislation and that I will make every effort to expedite it.