Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Bill 2018: Second Stage

I move: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

On behalf of the Minister of State, Deputy Halligan, I am pleased to present the Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Bill 2018 to the House for consideration. As this legislation is quite detailed and technical, this speech is grouped thematically to make it easier to discuss the different elements of it. The manner in which the existing measures are set out in the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 means it is not possible for the amendments we are making in this Bill to follow a direct numerical sequence. The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has produced a detailed explanatory memorandum that provides this information section by section. This document, along with the Department's regulatory impact analysis, will assist in reading the Bill before the House.

Perhaps it would be useful to begin this debate by providing information on the types of works covered by copyright legislation. This form of intellectual property law is most usually thought of as applying to books and other literary forms. Copyright legislation is the legal protection for a wide range of works from books to music, movies to software and databases to photographs. Existing legislation grants rights to the creators of such works to use, distribute and reproduce their work. Protections are afforded to performers, producers and broadcasters of works through what are known as "related rights". The owners of copyright and related rights are entitled to receive remuneration for the use of their work and to determine how their work can be used. The purpose of copyright law is to allow creators to retain this control and to receive remuneration for the use of their work. The current legislation governing these rights is the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000. The 2000 Act is an important tool that allows our creative sectors to flourish while ensuring the holders of rights have an effective means of enforcing those rights.

As the Internet evolved and the digital age progressed, it became clear that a detailed review of the 2000 Act was needed to update and modernise the copyright regime in Ireland. To accomplish this, a copyright review committee was established in 2011 by the then Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Bruton. The committee was tasked with examining the Irish copyright framework from the perspective of removing any obstacles to developing and growing innovation. The committee received hundreds of submissions, resulting in the publication of a report, Modernising Copyright, which contained more than 60 recommendations covering a diverse range of copyright issues. Following the publication of the report, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation engaged in extensive analysis and examination of the recommendations from a legal and policy perspective. A regulatory impact assessment was undertaken to examine which recommendations should be pursued by amending the existing legislation. This document, which is available on the Department's website, clearly outlines why certain recommendations were not implemented. The main reasons for not implementing recommendations were legal conflicts with existing EU law, the significant costs involved, the administrative burden that could arise from implementation and a lack of sufficient evidence supporting certain recommendations.

The Bill before the House implements some of the recommendations of the Modernising Copyright report and makes other technical amendments to the copyright regime. For example, it corrects an oversight that occurred during the euro changeover, when fines in Irish punts were not translated to euro and therefore not brought under the Fines Act 2010. In addition, this Bill amends the Patents Act 1992 to take account of two technical issues and to take into consideration evolving developments at EU level. The Bill also contains some amendments that are necessary for the transposition of EU Directive 2017/1564, which allows the EU to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled. After these amendments have been made, further secondary legislation will be required to transpose fully the directive.

As the legislation we are proposing contains a significant number of sections, I will discuss the main themes which outline its intentions. The Bill amends four existing definitions contained in the 2000 Act and provides for the inclusion of five new definitions which are important to consider when reading the Bill. One such amendment, which is set out in section 4 of the Bill, will have the effect of renaming the "controller of patents, designs and trade marks" as the "controller of intellectual property". Subsequent amendments in sections 40 to 42 carry this amendment across the other three intellectual property Acts - the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000, the Patents Act 1992 and the Trade Marks Act 1996 - and change the name of the Patents Office to the intellectual property office of Ireland. These amendments better reflect the roles of the controller and the office across all intellectual property in Ireland and the more standardised naming conventions for such offices across the EU.

A substantial measure in this Bill is the proposal to provide greater court access for intellectual property claims by amending the 2000 Act to extend the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court and the District Court to hear intellectual property claims. This will allow rights holders to bring lower-value intellectual property infringement claims for relief in civil proceedings within the limits of those courts. This provision will improve possibilities for the enforcement of intellectual property claims, especially those that would not be economical to prosecute before the High Court, which is the general approach at present. Access to the lower courts for lower-value claims will be of particular benefit to rights holders who are pursuing infringement actions. Following consultation among policy officials in the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, it was agreed that matters other than infringement cases should continue to rest with the High Court, operating as the Commercial Court. This has been provided for in the Bill.

The Bill makes relevant amendments to sections 38 and 39 of the Courts of Justice Act 1924 in relation to the jurisdiction of the District Court and to the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act 1961 in relation to the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court. This will ensure the rules of the court allow such cases to enter the lower courts, where judges previously had discretion to allow or refuse such cases, thereby providing certainty. Various later sections of the Bill - sections 46 to 79, inclusive, and sections 82 to 104, inclusive - make the necessary amendments to the Patents Act 1992 and the Trade Marks Act 1996, respectively. These sections amend references to "the Court" to show whether the matters relevant to each section should now be referred to the High Court or to the "appropriate court" in those Acts.

Several very technical amendments are proposed in this Bill to correct oversights or to clarify the intentions of existing provisions in the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000. Amendments to existing provisions clarify that the authorship of a soundtrack accompanying a film shall be treated as part of the film; clarify that perpetual copyright does not exist in certain unpublished works; provide a 25-year term of protection for previously unpublished works, subject to first obtaining the consent of the owner of the work; make it an infringement in the context of photographs to tamper with metadata associated with the photographic works in order to allow for better protection of photographs, particularly in online use; and strengthen the provisions on rights protection measures, for example by extending the protection of rights protection measures to being a matter for civil infringement proceedings taken by a rights holder or licensee, as well as a matter for criminal infringement proceedings. The rights of a person acting on behalf of a broadcaster with regard to the copying of a work are being clarified by means of the insertion of a new subsection that will allow copying for the purpose of a broadcast or cable programme to be extended to a person acting on behalf of and under the responsibility of the broadcaster. The duration of copyright in works provided for in the First Schedule of the 2000 Act is being clarified by the inclusion of additional text.

There are also provisions to correct an oversight at the time of the euro changeover, resulting in a technical amendment to each of the three older intellectual property Acts already in force to convert their existing monetary amounts for fines and convictions from Irish punts to euro amounts and, where suitable, to amend those monetary amounts to the relevant classes of fines as stipulated in the Fines Act 2010.

Existing legislation provides for a 25-year term of copyright protection for designs and artistic works under the Industrial Designs Act 2001. This conflicts with the standard copyright term of protection that applied to artistic works, which lasts for the life of the creator plus 70 years. Following a ruling in a case before the Court of Justice of the European Union, Ireland must amend its legislation regarding the term of protection for copyright in designs and artistic works to ensure that these works receive the full copyright term of protection of 70 years after the death of the creator.

To provide businesses with sufficient opportunity to comply with any amendment, the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation conducted a public consultation to obtain the views of stakeholders and subsequently has opted for a two-step transition period of 12 months from the date of entry into force of the Bill. This ensures that Irish legislation complies with our international obligations while giving businesses sufficient opportunity to respond to the changes and to sell existing stock that would not comply with the amended provisions. Therefore, the Bill repeals sections 31A and 78B of the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000, which relate to the 25-year term, with the new provisions bringing these works under the standard copyright term of protection being made in sections 8 and 20.

The Bill also implements a number of optional exceptions permitted by the EU information society directive. These include: extending the concept of fair dealing in copyright works for purposes of news reporting; creating an exception to copyright for use of copyright works to allow for caricature, satire and parody; making increased provision for the use of works by libraries and archives, including allowing libraries, archives and educational institutions to make a copy of a work in its collection for preservation purposes and for inclusion in catalogues for exhibitions; and expanding the exception to allow bodies to produce a copy of work for the advertisement of a public exhibition, as well as for the sale of an artistic work.

The Bill sets out a new provision to be included in the Copyright and Related Rights Act for text and data mining. This is the use of advanced automated data analytics techniques to examine text and other data for patterns, trends and other useful information. This usually requires copying of the work or database to be analysed to facilitate scientific research. The effect of this proposed exception is that it would not be an infringement of copyright to make a copy of a work for an algorithmic or technological process of computational analysis for the purpose of seeking to establish new facts, relationships, patterns, trends or anomalies. The introduction of such an exception would be of particular importance for the research and scientific community and in the context also of big data projects that rely on underlying data analytics to produce new results and new uses for those results.

EU copyright law contains a number of legal exceptions to copyright that allow for the use of copyrighted works without the express authorisation of the rights holder and without the need to compensate the author. The EU information society directive lists a series of exceptions to copyright that member states may incorporate into their own national legislation. Provisions contained in the Bill will expand many of the existing provisions of the Copyright and Related Rights Act to the full extent allowed by this directive and to take account of, and opportunities available due to, the advancement of new digital technologies. The Bill sets out amendments to the Copyright and Related Rights Act in various sections intended to expand the existing provisions on exceptions to copyright and related rights for the purposes of education. This will provide greater clarity around the use of copyright material in scientific and other research.

The various exceptions proposed would also allow for greater provision of education and training via distance learning and elearning, which is in line with the changing provision of education and training in Ireland and better facilitates the use of technology in the classroom or remotely. The Bill also includes additional protection for rightsholders by making these exceptions subject to a licence override, where suitable licences are available. This will allow educational institutions to benefit from access to copyrighted material while serving to protect rightsholders’ commercial objectives.

One of the definitions amended by the Bill is the definition of "disability", which is now updated to the meaning of disability assigned under section 2 of the Disability Act 2005 rather than the very restricted definition under the Copyright and Related Rights Act. This amendment is of particular importance as the Bill expands the existing exception to copyright for the benefit of persons with any disability. The provisions are designed to provide for the greater availability of suitably-modified versions of copyrighted works for use by persons with a disability, as allowed under the EU information society directive to which I have previously referred. Currently, designated bodies that represent the interests of persons with disabilities are only allowed to make a single modified copy to meet the individual needs of an individual person with a disability in response to a specific request, placing undue burdens on such bodies or organisations. The amendments allow designated bodies to create multiple copies to have available for those needs of disabled persons and to facilitate transmission of those copies to other designated bodies as well as directly to individuals with a disability. Designated bodies will be permitted to request a copy of a work that can then be copied and modified for the specific needs of a person with a disability. This will then allow that body to create additional copies of that modified work for the use by persons with disabilities. Given advances in technologies, it may now also be possible for persons with disabilities to undertake necessary modifications themselves using suitable software, etc.

Taking these advances into consideration, the Bill features a new provision that allows an individual person with a physical or mental disability to make a personal copy of a work modified to meet their special needs rather than having to obtain such a modified copy from a designated body, allowing such persons a level of independence and not placing an onus on them to rely on a third party. The Bill also sets out a new provision that introduces an anticipatory duty on publishers to make suitable copies of the work available to designated bodies on request. This will facilitate these bodies to make suitably-modified copies available for persons with disabilities.

The Bill includes a provision amending the Copyright and Related Rights Act that is aimed at broadening the copyright deposit system to enable existing copyright deposit institutions to accept published material in digital format as well as, or instead of, physical copies. It is a modest amendment to allow copyright deposit institutions in Ireland to accept publications in electronic format on a voluntary basis while creating an obligation on publishers to comply with any request for such material in an electronic format.

Since the Government approved the drafting of the general scheme of this Bill in July 2016, two technical issues that require amendments to the Patents Act 1992 have arisen. The first is an amendment to open the national route for Patent Cooperation Treaty, PCT, applications. This amendment provides for a technical amendment to section 127 of the Patents Act to allow patent applicants to choose to convert an international patent application into a national patent application. It is a result of a more robust patent examination procedure introduced in the knowledge development box legislation in 2017. Prior to this, patent applicants would only have had the option of applying for a patent through the European patent route. Applying through the national route is a less expensive option. During the international application process, which usually takes about 31 months, applicants may discover that an international patent is not suitable. This may be due to the high costs involved, the patent may not be commercially viable, protection in international markets may no longer be necessary or the results of the search report and written opinion may preclude the patent from being granted in certain countries. This facilitates the opening up of the "national route" for PCT applicants, which will provide an additional choice to applicants not available up to now.

The second issue arises from an unintended consequence of an amendment to section 31 of the Patents Act in the recently enacted Knowledge Development Box (Certification of Inventions) Act 2017. Prior to the amendment, when a patent application was received by the controller of patents, designs and trade marks, it was subject to a formalities check to ensure that the application had been completed correctly and met the minimum standard set out in the Patents Act to qualify as a valid patent application. Should the application not meet the required standards, it could be refused.

Following the implementation of the Knowledge Development Box (Certification of Inventions) Act, patent applications that do not meet the minimum standard cannot be refused after this "formalities check" but instead must be subject to substantive examination and investigation before being refused. It was never the intention to remove the power of the controller to refuse patent applications that did not meet the minimum standard. Therefore, it is necessary to correct this unintended consequence by removing the text inserted by the amendment to section 31(1) of the Patents Act 1992 and returning it to its original format of section 40.

I reiterate that the Bill is an important and technical piece of legislation that will, when implemented, modernise and expand copyright and related rights in Ireland, which is why it is important that it progresses quickly through the Houses. I am pleased to commend this Bill to the House on behalf of the Minister of State, Deputy Halligan, who looks forward with interest to the contributions of Members on this and subsequent Stages of the Bill in this House.

I wish to share time with Deputy Niamh Smyth from the Cavan-Monaghan constituency.

Is that agreed? Agreed.

I thank the Minister of State for outlining in detail the provisions in the Bill. He has said this is primarily a technical piece of legislation but the themes discussed are important in the broader context of the knowledge economy, innovation and the protection of copyright and patents. This country has been to the fore in developments but not always in protecting such developments. We have innovative people in the animation and film sectors, as well as education and the knowledge box. There are cutting edge companies and individuals providing wonderful software in those areas. We really need to harness such work while fostering it. In doing so we must also ensure we can protect it so that people can have confidence that if they innovate and create something exciting, it would be protected by our legislation and in our courts, meaning there would be a reward for it.

Let us be under no illusions. There needs to be a reward in order that people can obtain remuneration from their ideas and innovations.

If we look at education in recent years and where we started from and have come to in the areas of disability and artistic endeavour, it is obvious that we are becoming very creative. We can now allow children with disabilities to learn and to create. In schools, iPads and tablets are used in a creative and innovative way. Whiteboards and other available technology are very much part and parcel of everyday education. However, that came about because of the efforts of creative people. I refer to not only to the global corporate aspect but also to local creative companies and individuals. The Minister is aware of this from his previous background as an educator. While it is primarily technical in nature, the Bill is very detailed and robust. We are supporting and welcoming it. We could criticise parts around the edges. However, we certainly support the broad principle.

In respect of where we stand in the context of copyright, patents and intellectual property, we also have to look at the international context. I refer to the previous debate on data protection and all that flows from that. There is one thing that we cannot do as a State, a people and a society, namely, just to park matters and stop. This journey we are on in the area of creative thinking, intellectual property and copyright will not stop. It is a journey that is going to evolve long into the future. As a country, we have to be on top of that, not only in the context of the creative aspect but also in ensuring that we can protect the creative dynamic which is evident in Ireland now. It is an exciting time to be part of this journey and this adventure. It is really changing people's lives across many areas, including the arts, education and disability. It is an exciting time for people involved in education and those learning from that education as well. This Bill will facilitate these individuals.

Looking beyond that to the globalisation of content, research and innovation and creativity in general, we have to accept that, as a country and an island, we are just newly coming to the fore in this area. We have always been creative in terms of the arts, poetry and music and story. However, it is important that we establish Ireland as a centre where people can have confidence that intellectual property will be protected. I refer not only to this Bill, but also to the whole area of software, financial services and right across all aspects of the modern mobile global economy. I refer to having within this country the legislative underpinning that gives confidence to creative people, regardless of the areas in which they operate, that they can establish themselves here knowing that whatever they think up, create, imagine or design will enjoy full protection. This will require that we remain consistently ahead of the posse when it comes to legislative underpinning.

I refer also to our competitiveness and confidence in our judicial system. We must ensure that when there are breaches of copyright, intellectual property rights or company law, there is a judicial system in place that protects intellectual property rights and creativity. That is something which this country must consistently protect and nurture. I say this because I believe that Ireland has all those attributes of a small nation that boxes above its weight with regard to global positioning. Creativity is important but let us be honest and clear about it. Without protection and acknowledgment and in the absence of remuneration, creativity dies. There is a need for people to be able to innovate consistently. The way innovation happens is if there is a reward at the end of the process. This Bill reflects and encompasses what we must do in a broader way across all aspects of intellectual property and copyright protection.

I refer to what the Minister said about this Bill. Considering the fact that it is quite detailed and technical legislation, the content of his speech was grouped thematically to make it easier to discuss the different elements. He continued by saying that due to the way the existing measures are contained in the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000, it is not possible for amendments to follow a numerical sequence within the Bill. That was a fine introduction to a speech. I began to lose the will to live. However, we have to acknowledge that a huge amount of work goes into drafting legislation. As the Minister said, this is quite detailed legislation. There are European implications. It is important that we acknowledge the role of the civil servants in the Department. They play a key and meaningful role in consistently drafting legislation, observing what is happening in the broader international markets, transposing EU directives, etc. The civil servants in the Department must be acknowledged for the work they do in respect of Bills of this nature. Very often, that work goes unnoticed. However, it is significant and important in respect of its impact.

For all those reasons, we welcome the Bill. We think the Bill is important and significant for those who create, and for those who benefit from the creation of, the intellectual property rights that will be protected under its provisions. I thank the Minister and his officials for outlining the position. We will consistently support quality legislation that is brought forward. More importantly, we will consistently support and encourage the Government in the protection of creative ideas. Historically, we can look back at our place on the international stage in the areas of literature and art, the fact that Ireland was known as the land of saints and scholars, etc. It may be nostalgic to do so but the reality is that if we do not protect and have a sound robust legislative base underpinning intellectual property rights, creativity and copyright - with courts that can adjudicate in an impartial internationally recognised manner - we will undermine creative people by not allowing them to benefit from their talents. With that in mind, I support the Bill and, in a positive way, commend it to the House.

I welcome this Bill, which will update and modernise the copyright regime in Ireland. In particular, I welcome the extension of the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court and the District Court in order to facilitate rights holders to seek relief by bringing civil proceedings relating to lower-value IP infringement claims before those courts. To date, many artists have been put off taking court action to protect their copyright because of the high costs involved in High Court actions. It is hoped that the extension of the jurisdiction of the District Court and the Circuit Court will help to change the position in this regard.

The types of work eligible for copyright protection include long-established categories such as written or recorded literary and artistic works, as well as more modern forms such as broadcasts, cable television transmissions and computer programs. Copyright can apply to arrangements of materials, such as typographical arrangements of published works, and original databases. It also confers rights relating to the performance of works, as distinct from the underlying literary or artistic works that are being performed. Copyright is the guardian of one of the most precious skills - that of creativity. As the Fianna Fáil spokesperson on arts and heritage, I am particularly interested in the impact copyright infringement has on artists and practitioners working in the creative industries.

For too long piracy of artistic works has been viewed as a victimless crime. At a minimum the Government should campaign to ensure that those guilty of copyright infringement are aware that they are operating illegally and that their conduct is impacting on artists and the economy.

Many years ago the UK introduced an anti-piracy campaign that saw people who persistently pirated movies and music receive emails warning that their actions were illegal. The Government should look at that scheme.

Ireland has one of the highest rates of illegal downloading of films and television shows in the world. Per capita Ireland is 12th in the world for piracy. It is estimated that this costs the Irish economy €60 million annually. Further, film and television piracy represents a real and direct threat to people employed in the creative industries. I am not overstating the issue when I say that copyright piracy is industry-threatening. More infringement means less film production, which results in fewer jobs in our creative and artistically-talented population.

There is a perception that a person who illegally downloads films and television programmes is only hurting the film and television industry and that such actions do not hurt anyone if we do not pay for what we view. However, films made in Ireland can become unprofitable if they are pirated. Thus it is clear that such actions represent a crime with a victim. The film industry in Ireland provides 7,500 jobs directly. If films are not made, those jobs will not be there.

The Irish Film Board maintains it is vital that the Irish film industry be given a fair opportunity to find an audience without being undermined by digital piracy. Irish film professionals are helping to promote Irish storytelling and arts on the world stage and they deserve our support.

The Audiovisual Federation has called for the establishment of an interagency task force to tackle digital piracy in view of the Exchequer revenue evaded and the jobs lost. I call on the Government to consider this proposal. If the Government is serious about tackling copyright infringement it would surely agree to it.

Ireland has a strong tradition and exerts global influence over literature, music, dance, theatre, film and art. We have a rich heritage of storytelling that has evolved into a rich film industry. We also have a fantastic pool of people and, more important, ideas. We must protect this intellectual property.

I wish to take the opportunity to express Sinn Féin's support for the Bill. I welcome the opportunity to speak on the Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Bill 2018.

We need a strategy that enables creators to live from their work while ensuring a user's right to access creative content. We need an alliance of creators' and users' rights that supports freedom of access and use while, at the same time, valuing creative work.

The Bill introduces measures aimed at modernising copyright law and includes important changes set out in the 2013 Marrakesh treaty relating to access to copyright materials for people who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print-disabled by conditions such as dyslexia or physical conditions that prevent them from holding reading materials. Following the recent ratification by Ireland of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities I am pleased to see further progress to assist people with disabilities. Much work needs to be done to address outstanding issues in the comprehensive employment strategy for people with disabilities. Sinn Féin is happy to support the Bill but we may bring forward amendments which we believe could strengthen it.

This legislation stems from the copyright review committee 2013 report. It is regrettable that a copyright council of Ireland will not be established under the Bill, as recommended by the copyright review committee in the 2013 report.

The purpose of the council, as envisaged, would include acting as an independent advocate for the integrity of copyright, raising public awareness of copyright and promoting codes of best practice. The proposal could have provided a centralised body at the core of copyright issues in Ireland. An alternative dispute resolution facility within the copyright council could have provided quicker and less costly access to legal resources and intellectual property expertise than what is now proposed. Can the Minister outline why the Government has decided against the establishment of such a council? Surely the small cost of initially setting up a council would not act as a barrier to its establishment with all the associated benefits.

The Bill addresses anomalies identified by the copyright review committee concerning the term of copyright in literary, dramatic musical and artistic works that have not been published. The committee noted that section 24 of the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 could result in certain unpublished works having perpetual copyright. The copyright review committee proposed that section 24(1) of the 2000 Act be amended to clarify that copyright expires 70 years after the death of the author regardless of whether the work has been published. Section 7 of this Bill provides for such an amendment.

Section 27 concerns arrangements for legal deposit of copyright works. Section 198 of the Copyright and Related Rights Act requires publishers in the State to supply copies of books to designated libraries, including the National Library of Ireland and those of the major universities in the State. Section 27 will allow the libraries to request their copies in physical or electronic form, or both, unless the publisher has already supplied it in one of those forms. This brings the application of copyright law into line with advances in modern technologies.

Sections 4(d), 4(e) and 43 make important changes to provisions of the 2000 Act relating to the use of copyright materials for education. The term "educational establishment" is defined under the 2000 Act to include schools, universities and any establishment whose operational activities are funded by the Exchequer. Section 4(d) expands this to include all institutions that award State-recognised qualifications, such as FETAC and HETAC awards. Again, this brings the application of Irish copyright law in line with the changes in the education system since the 2000 Act was first introduced almost 20 years ago.

The provisions relating to the implementation of the Marrakesh treaty are particularly important. Section 25 creates an exception to copyright for the benefit of people with disabilities. This applies to designated bodies, the current definition of which includes all non-profit bodies that make or supply works modified to meet the special needs of persons with disabilities. Sections 24 to 26, inclusive, contain measures to give effect to requirements of the Marrakesh treaty. Conceived in line with the human rights principles outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Marrakesh treaty is the first copyright treaty to include a clear human rights perspective. The Marrakesh treaty demonstrates that copyright systems are an important part of the solution to the challenge of improving access to books and other printed works for people with print disabilities.

The World Intellectual Property Organization, an agency of the UN, maintains 285 million people are living with visual impairments throughout the world but less than 10% of all published materials are accessible to people who are blind or those with low vision. The Marrakesh treaty eases the production and transfer across national boundaries of books that are adapted for use by people with disabilities and visual impairments, most of whom live in lower-income countries. The treaty has a single objective: to increase access to books, magazines and other printed materials for people with print disabilities. It aims to achieve this by making it easier for accessible copies to be created and shared across international borders. The World Intellectual Property Organization has said that without books, journals and magazines, people who are blind or visually impaired can be cut off from major parts of life. It can mean they cannot gain an education or participate fully in society and it can mean that they cannot realise their full potential. The treaty is now in force in 35 countries. This is an important step forward for Ireland.

Why is no copyright council to be established under this Bill? Finally, I have a query relating to the new powers for the lower courts. Jurisdiction for lower courts to hear specific intellectual property claims should be narrowly restricted. Will the Minister outline the proposal in greater detail? Is the Minister confident the lower courts have the expertise to hear complex intellectual property cases? Has the Government considered other approaches, such as the establishment of a specific intellectual property court?

We will support the Bill, which is complex and technical. It is unlikely to keep the political correspondents up late at night as other Bills might, but it is important for those directly affected. One of the issues is that people generally do not know very much about copyright unless it affects them directly.

More public information needs to be made available on this area in order that people are aware of the issues regarding copyright. The points Deputy Niamh Smyth made about musicians, artists, film makers and so on not having their rights abused are important. People often casually download music and access digital material without considering the fact there are laws around this and that they may well be breaking them. It is important there is more widespread knowledge about exactly what we can and cannot do with respect to intellectual property and copyright that belongs to somebody else.

Generally, copyright extends throughout the person's life plus 70 years afterwards. In some cases with respect to broadcasts it is 50 years. It is quite a long period. Unfortunately, many artists do not benefit as much as their estate particularly if what they have written or made becomes valuable at a later stage, but it is important that it is protected.

There is a number of measures in the Bill. I also welcome that there will be more access to the jurisdictions of the District and Circuit Courts. There should not be obstacles to justice on any issue but in this area where costs could be a factor it is important that the courts are more accessible.

The Bill will implement the recommendations of the Copyright Review Committee. I have also some concerns that not all of its recommendations are being implemented. In particular, its recommendation calling for the setting up of the copyright council is not being implemented. I raise similar a question to that raised by Deputy Quinlivan as to why it is not being implemented.

I thank the Oireachtas Library for the work it has done on this but under the section where it deals with recommendations for the establishment of a copyright council of Ireland, it suggests that the reason it is not being implemented may be because of the cost of establishing and operating it. I hope the Government will keep that under review. If it is an issue of costs, hopefully with our recovering economy issues that involve costs could be reviewed, as that was one of the committee's central recommendations. Some of the other recommendations on issues of fair use, private copying etc. are also not being fully implemented. I am not sure if the Minister of State, Deputy Jim Daly, or the Minister of State, Deputy Halligan, is replying to this debate, but it will be interesting to hear the reasons some of these recommendations are not being implemented. One of the reasons is because of a court challenge in Britain, and that is understandable, but if there are other reasons, particularly on the issue around costs, we should be able to get answers on that.

I understand there were approximately 300 submissions to the consultation process. I presume there were submissions on both sides. There is a balance in all of this between the person who creates the material or the work of art and those who derive value from it. That includes libraries, educational institutions, galleries etc. There is some interesting material on exactly how they can be used. For example, if a gallery is organising an exhibition, it can use the pictures of the art in order to advertise that the exhibition is taking place. Those are practical measures. Many of the measures in the Bill are practical and are important to those for whom those practical measures will make a difference. One of the practical measures to which the Minister referred to in his speech relates to the easier access to patents. If I understood the Minister of State correctly, up to now if one's patent application was refused, that was it, whereas now there is an opportunity to address the reasons it was refused and for the applicant to be able to address those and have the patent accepted. In many cases we as public representatives deal with, people's applications get turned down without them having any opportunity to address the shortcomings and rectify the problem, whether it be that they have not submitted a proper bank statement or some other information. There is an intention in the Bill to address that aspect.

Another important area that has been mentioned is the educational use of data, which matters to all of us. Materials can be used for research or private study, promoting innovation requires incentivising publicly funded research, and there is the whole area of research and broadening references to research and private study. Deputy Kelleher made the point that we have so much access now through digital media and so on. This can be a positive benefit to education. The Minister of State, Deputy Daly, said the various exceptions proposed would allow for greater provision of education and training via distance learning and elearning. I would be very supportive of that and also of facilitating the use of technology in the classroom or remotely. Many older adults did not have access to much of an educational opportunity when they were younger and if they can now benefit through elearning and in other ways, that would be positive. If young people and their teachers can also use technology in the classroom in an effective way, that would also be positive and might even lighten the weight of school bags occasionally, which is an issue of concern to the Minister of State. Some of these measures facilitate learning with the use of whiteboards in classrooms and with group learning while ensuring that we protect the rights of whoever has created the material in the first place.

I also welcome, as have others, the implementation of the Marrakesh treaty providing access for people with disabilities, access to Braille and other methods by which people can access material, if they have a particular disability. That is important and it is being addressed in the Bill.

The issue of content and data mining causes us all some concern and when I read the word "algorithm" in anything I get worried because it reminds me that somebody is watching me on my phone, knows where I am and what I am interested in. That is of wide concern to people and we have seen it highlighted very recently in another country.

The Deputy is obviously up to nothing bad. She should not be worried.

I do not do bad things like certain people across the Atlantic in regard to these matters. I will not name any names. That type of gathering of information is to some extent facilitated and recommended where people are using it to analyse large volumes of information. We have to keep a eye on that as well to ensure it is not misused. I do not believe there is anything in the Bill that would make that a problem but at the same time it is something that would concern me.

Those are the main issues I wanted to raise. As I and others have said, this legislation is quite complex. It is a balance of rights and interests between the person who has created the material and those various bodies that use it, whether they be libraries, archivists, schools or people who are rebroadcasting and presenting material through various means. It is important for those whose lives it affects directly. The more public knowledge there is on all these matters, the better. Most of us are quite ignorant of them until it affects ourselves. In some cases somebody will have created something new and positive and somebody else will recognise that there is a benefit in that and may well benefit more than the person who has come up with it originally and that may be because that person did not know exactly how to protect their own rights. It is important this type of information is available. My party supports the Bill.

As there are no other Members offering, I call the Minister of State to conclude the debate.

I have listened attentively to all the Deputies and thank them for their useful contributions, comments and observations on the Bill. The Minister of State, Deputy Halligan, will work positively with Members as the Bill progresses through the Houses in the coming weeks and months. The Bill is detailed and technical legislation that will, when implemented, modernise and expand copyright and related rights in Ireland.

I will try to address some of the comments made as best I can. Deputy Kelleher referred to the protection of intellectual property, IP, and reward for people's efforts, with which I agree. All sides agree that we must ensure there is a good judicial system. Enforcement is also important. We should protect and reward creators for their efforts and the works they create. The Bill supports creators of lower value IP to better protect it through the Circuit and District Courts. Work is also under way within the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, in co-operation with other agencies of the State, to reinforce our efforts on the enforcement of IP, seizure of counterfeit goods and improvement of education and awareness of IP and its enforcement. I remind Deputy Kelleher that higher value IP cases will continue to be heard in the Commercial Court.

Deputy Smyth asked about enforcement as well, which I have just addressed. She also spoke about infringement, which is an important issue. The Bill contains an extension to the jurisdictions of the Circuit and District Courts to allow cases to be brought before them. This amendment would support small and, in particular, individual right holders in protecting their IP and enforce their rights in smaller cases that it is not economically feasible to prosecute before the High Court.

Deputy Quinlivan asked why we had not decided to create a specialised IP court. The Department explored this matter thoroughly with the Department of Justice and Equality and the Courts Service and it was concluded that there would be significant costs involved in the training of specialised judges and registrars and the establishment of additional structures for a specialised court within the Circuit Court system, which is already heavily burdened. This is particularly important, given other Government priorities in terms of access to the courts, such as the specialist judges appointed to deal with personal insolvency cases since 2013, and the increased demand on criminal, civil and family court proceedings in recent years. However, it was possible to improve access to the lower courts for IP infringement claims in general, a measure that is included in the Bill.

The Deputy asked why we had decided not to establish a copyright council. It was envisaged that the board of the council would be constituted by a diverse range of stakeholders with an active interest in different aspects and agendas, ranging from individual authors, composers and photographers, organisations, large-scale online platforms and representatives of organisations. With such a diverse range, it is likely that there would be considerable difficulties trying to reach consensus on issues within the council and it would be difficult to propose a unitary view to the Minister in terms of policy making. Also, the establishment of a copyright council has not been fully quantified, given the Government's general policy orientation towards reducing the number of new public bodies. Due to a significant number of issues, including the cost that would be involved in creating this body, it was decided not to proceed with its establishment, as such a copyright council would not be fit for purpose and would be unlikely to achieve the aims envisaged.

Deputy Quinlivan mentioned a number of matters recommended by the CRC that are included in the Bill and I thank him and all other Deputies for their remarks in that regard. Deputy Quinlivan also inquired about the Marrakesh treaty. The Bill makes a number of changes to the provisions for persons with a disability that are necessary for the transposition of the EU directive that would allow the EU to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled. The Bill will allow designated bodies to make multiple accessible format copies of works, transfer these copies to other designated bodies that need them and accept modified copies from other designated bodies. However, some further legislative amendments will be necessary to give full effect to the directive, and these will be made by way of secondary legislation in order to comply with the transposition deadline of 11 October.

Deputy Jan O'Sullivan discussed submissions to the CRC. The Department considered these as part of its analysis of the CRC's recommendations along with legal, cost and policy considerations. There was a wealth of useful contextual information that helped to shape implementation of as much as possible of what was considered by the CRC in spirit even if not exactly as it recommended.

The Deputy also asked about the Bill's data mining provision. In September 2016, the European Commission presented a legislative package for the modernisation of the EU's copyright rules, including a proposed directive on copyright in the digital Single Market. That directive included the proposal to introduce a mandatory exemption for text and data mining, TDM. However, this occurred after a decision had already been taken to implement a TDM exception in Irish legislation, which received Government approval in July 2016. Ireland's current copyright legislation and the amendments contained in the Bill will not conflict with anything contained in the proposed directive. Negotiations are ongoing on the copyright directive at EU level and departmental officials are fully engaged with them. The Department will, of course, make any necessary legislative amendment once the directive is finalised and align with our obligations to transpose EU directives into national law.

The Minister hopes to progress the Bill quickly in order to ensure that the necessary legislative basis to allow Ireland and the EU as a whole to ratify the World Intellectual Property Organization's Marrakesh treaty by the deadline of 11 October.

I thank all the Deputies for their engagement and for the informative debate on the Bill. The Minister looks forward to further constructive engagement on Committee Stage.

Question put and agreed to.