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.