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

Question proposed: "That the Bill be now read a Second Time."

On behalf of the Minister of State, Deputy John Halligan, I am pleased to present the Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Bill 2018 to this House for consideration. The Bill completed its passage through the Lower House in July with broad support, following positive and constructive engagement with Deputies. Officials of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation will be happy in the next few weeks to engage with Senators who have questions about the Bill or require clarification on any of its provisions.

The Bill is aimed at overcoming barriers to innovation and modernising the existing copyright regime for the digital age. It is not to be confused with the ongoing negotiations in Brussels on a proposal for a copyright directive. If that proposal is agreed to, separate transposing legislation will be required in Ireland in due course.

The Bill is the result of detailed analysis and examination, both from a legal and a policy perspective, of the recommendations contained in the copyright review committee’s 2013 report entitled, Modernising Copyright. The regulatory impact assessment, which is available on the website of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation, outlines why certain recommendations were not implemented. It was due mainly to legal conflicts with existing EU law, the significant costs involved, the resulting administrative burden that could arise from implementation, or the lack of sufficient evidence supporting certain recommendations.

Owing to the diversity of the Seanad, many in this House will be aware of copyright. As a result, I expect to see interest in the Bill. The overall aim of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation on copyright matters in the Bill and in general is always to find the best balance between the rights of right holders in respect of their creative endeavours, the desire of consumers to access that creative content and those intermediaries who facilitate that access and ensure right holders are suitably remunerated for their rights.

Turning to the Bill, as it is quite detailed legislation, with a substantial number of sections, I do not propose to address each of them but will instead outline the main provisions. I can, of course, provide additional detail on any aspect, if required. The Minister of State, Deputy John Halligan, and his officials will be available in the coming weeks to clarify any piece of information or go into more detail, if need be.

The Bill amends several existing definitions contained in the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000, as amended, and provides for the inclusion of five new definitions, which is important to consider when reading the Bill. The Bill introduces the following changes to copyright law in Ireland. Section 4 renames the Controller of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks as the Controller of Intellectual Property. Subsequent amendments in sections 40 to 42, inclusive, carry this change across the other intellectual property Acts, namely, the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 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 full breadth of the role of both the controller and the office across all intellectual property in Ireland, as well as the more standardised naming convention for such offices across the European Union.

The Bill improves access to the courts system for intellectual property infringement claims, particularly for lower value cases of intellectual property infringements. This is achieved in section 5 by extending the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court and the District Court to hear intellectual property claims, permitting right holders to bring lower value intellectual property infringement claims for relief in civil proceedings within the limits of these courts. The provision will improve possibilities for 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. In sections 38 and 39 relevant amendments are also included to the Courts of Justice Act 1924 in respect of the jurisdiction of the District Court and to the Courts (Supplemental Provisions) Act 1961 in respect of the jurisdiction of the Circuit Court to ensure the rules of the court allow such cases to enter the lower courts. Later sections of the Bill, namely, sections 46 to 79, inclusive, and 82 to 104, inclusive, make the necessary amendments to the Patents Act 1992 and the Trade Marks Act 1996, respectively, which amend references to "the Court" to show whether the matters relevant to each section should be referred to the High Court or the "appropriate court" in those Acts.

The introduction of a text and data mining copyright exception is provided for in sections 13 and 29. Text and data mining 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 exception will be of particular importance to the research and scientific community and in the context of big data projects which rely on underlying data analytics to produce new results and uses for the results.

The Bill extends the existing copyright exceptions for education and research into Irish law as proposed by the copyright review committee. Several sections amend the Copyright and Related Rights Act, namely, sections 14, 28, 29, 43 and Schedule 1, expanding the existing provisions on exceptions to copyright and related rights for the purposes of education. The 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 the information society directive, Directive 2001/29/EC. The exceptions contained in the directive allow for the use of copyrighted works without the express authorisation of the right holder and the need to compensate the author. The Bill also includes protection for right holders 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 right holders’ commercial objectives.

Section 27 contains a modest amendment to the Copyright and Related Rights Act that broadens the copyright deposit system, enabling copyright deposit institutions to accept published material in digital format, as well as or instead of physical copies. This allows 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.

A disability exception, originally proposed by the copyright review committee, is contained in the Bill. The definition of disability is amended and updated to the meaning assigned under section 2 of the Disability Act 2005. The amendment is of importance as the Bill expands the existing exception to copyright for the benefit of persons with any disability in sections 24 to 26, inclusive. The provisions 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. Currently, designated bodies that represent the interests of persons with a disability 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 and organisations. The amendments allow designated bodies to create multiple copies to have available for the needs of disabled persons and facilitate transmission of these 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 which 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 the modified work for use by persons with a disability. Given advances in technology, it may also be possible for persons with a disability to undertake necessary modifications 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 which is 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 the bodies to make suitable modified copies available for persons with a disability.

The Bill amends the Patents Act 1992 to take account of two technical issues that have arisen from the Knowledge Development Box (Certification of Inventions) Act 2017. Section 40 of the Bill which provides for the opening up of the national route for Patent Cooperation Treaty, PCT, international applications was amended on Committee Stage in Dáil Éireann. The amendments are extremely technical in nature and were necessary to ensure there were no unintended consequences as a result of the changes to the Patents Act 1992.

The purpose of section 127A is to open the national route for PCI applications by allowing patent applicants to choose to convert an international patent application into a national patent application. This ensures the applicant in not required to lose his or her international application; he or she can choose the national route of his or her own volition.

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 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 must instead 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 through section 40 of this Bill.

There are a few technical amendments. While the Bill implements many of the recommendations in the Modernising Copyright report, it also makes other technical amendments to the copyright regime. Section 6 clarifies that the authorship of a soundtrack accompanying a film shall be treated as part of the film. Section 7 clarifies that perpetual copyright does not exist in certain unpublished works. Section 9 provides a 25-year term of protection for previously unpublished works. This is subject to first obtaining the consent of the owner of the work. Section 10 makes it an infringement, in the context of photographs, to tamper with metadata associated with the photographic works. This will allow for better protection of photographs, particularly in online use. Sections 10 and 32 to 36, inclusive, strengthen the provisions on rights protection measures, including extending the protection of rights protection measures to being a matter for civil infringement proceedings taken by a rightsholder or licensee as well as a matter for criminal infringement proceedings. Section 23 clarifies the rights of a person acting on behalf of a broadcaster with regard to the copying of a work by 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. Section 37 clarifies the duration of copyright in works provided for in paragraph 9(1) of the First Schedule of the Copyright and Related Rights Act by the inclusion of additional text.

There are also provisions to correct an oversight at the time of the euro changeover. These result in a technical amendment to each of the three older intellectual property Acts already in force - the Copyright and Related Rights Act, the Patents Act 1992 and the Trade Marks Act 1996 - 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. These provisions are found in sections 44, 80 and 105 and Schedules 2, 3 and 4 of the Bill.

In respect of the term of protection for copyright in designs, the Bill repeals sections 31A and 78B of the Copyright and Related Rights Act which relate to the existing 25-year term of copyright protection for designs and artistic works under the Industrial Designs Act 2001. New provisions bring these works under the standard copyright term of protection being made in sections 8 and 20. The current 25-year term of copyright protection for designs and artistic works conflicts with the standard copyright term of protection that applied to artistic works, which lasts for the life of the creator and a further 70 years. Following a ruling in a case before the Court of Justice of the EU, Ireland must amend its legislation regarding the term of protection for copyright in designs and artistic works to ensure these works receive the full copyright term of protection of 70 years after the death of the creator. In order 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 off existing stock that would not comply with the amended provisions.

There are also exceptions permitted by the EU information society directive. The Bill implements several such optional exceptions. They include extending the concept of fair dealing in copyright works for purposes of news reporting in sections 11 and 21; creating an exception to copyright for use of copyright works to allow for caricature, satire and parody in section 12; 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 in sections 15 to 19, inclusive, 31 and 32; and expanding the exception to allow bodies to produce a copy of a work for the advertisement of a public exhibition, as well as for the sale of an artistic work in section 22.

I would like to inform the House that during the Bill’s passage in Dáil Éireann a Government amendment was accepted which amended text at section 40. In addition, one Opposition amendment was proposed, which the Minister of State, Deputy Halligan, was happy to accept, which resulted in the addition of a new section 106 that requires the Government to issue a report within 12 months of enactment on the feasibility of establishing a digital legal deposit scheme to allow for the copying and archiving of material on .ie domains on the Internet. I am pleased to commend the Bill to the House on behalf of the Minister of State who, again, apologises that he cannot be here owing to an issue that came up. He certainly looks forward with interest to the contributions of Members on this and subsequent Stages of the Bill in this House. He and his team are available before Committee Stage and later Stages to go through any issues Senators might have in the weeks ahead.

I thank the Minister of State. We will follow with debate in the normal pattern.

The Minister of State has outlined the Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Bill 2018 quite comprehensively and we have had discussions on it previously. We have certainly discussed it with the Minister of State, Deputy Halligan, at length on a previous occasion. On behalf of my own party, I can say we are happy to see the Bill implemented.

I also welcome the introduction of the Bill. During my past lecturing in law I did some work in the area of intellectual property; therefore, I am aware of what a minefield it can be and of how dry and technical in nature it is, while nonetheless involving very important issues of the public good, as we heard when the Minister of State was speaking about the various sections. Perhaps even more of a minefield is the fact that we are in this age of Internet downloads, streaming, data mining, social media, and so on, all of which have really forced us to look again at how we should balance the rights of copyright holders with the realities of modern communications and the use of copyrighted material. The Bill is exceptionally detailed and technical legislation. It strikes a good balance between protecting copyright holders and taking account of the modern world and the desire for, or desirability of, reasonable use of copyrighted material in reasonable circumstances, such as use in educational settings. The fact that these issues are being addressed by the Oireachtas sends a good message about Ireland as a knowledge economy in which innovation and information are valued and their importance understood and in which people can profit from their ideas as a result of them being protected to a reasonable degree within our laws.

In particular, I welcome the provisions of the Bill which allow intellectual property infringement actions to be brought before the District or Circuit Courts within these courts' jurisdiction. I recently spoke in the House on the Judicial Appointments Commission Bill and made the point that we are in danger of the courts system being brought into disrepute, not by cronyism or judicial bias, as the Minister, Deputy Ross, would have us believe, but by a combination of delays caused by judicial vacancies, particularly at appellate level, and by high costs which act as a barrier to access to the courts. There is also still a range of areas where actions are reserved to the jurisdiction of the High Court alone. It is good to see one of these being taken back for consideration by the lower courts. Allowing infringement actions of lower value to be brought at District and Circuit Court level is a positive step as it will allow rights holders who may be of limited resources to pursue an action to protect their rights where they might otherwise have been afraid to do so owing to the cost of a High Court action.

An important principle that people talk about is access to justice. The cost of justice is inseparable from that question of access to justice. From that perspective in particular, I welcome this legislation, as well as welcoming it generally.

I welcome the Minister to the House again. I also welcome the Bill because while it is highly technical, it is, as others have said, essential in terms of modernising our system for today's world.

There are many aspects of the Bill which I welcome and Senator Mullen has mentioned two of them. One is the change in the courts system in order that one can go to a lower court for minor infringements and not have justice denied because of the prohibitive cost of going to the High Court. I also have a particular interest in the issue of text and data mining and the exceptions to those as they refer to education and research. which are critically important. I am aware of one instance recently where access to a host of new information, looked at with new eyes, has brought forward some advances in the understanding of the area of autism.

This is a very good Bill which has been through the Lower House, and any of the issues that were raised there have been ironed out. Unlike on some occasions when we get the Bill first and do that sort of work here, this Bill has come to us fairly well cleaned up and cleared. The issue around disability is also very important in that people have an independent right to modify their requirements without having to rely upon a third party, notwithstanding the fact that third parties can also put it into a format that is more accessible. Within this context we think of people with visual impairments. The modest amendment relating to the copyright deposit system is critically important in the modern era as more of us move to a paperless society. This makes sense.

I commend the Minister and the Bill to the House.

I thank the Minister of State for coming into the House to take the Bill. I welcome the legislation, as others have done. It sets out to implement some of the recommendations in the Modernising Copyright report prepared by the Copyright Review Committee back in 2013 and it is also influenced by the Marrakesh treaty, both of which Sinn Féin support.

The importance of copyright to the creative economy cannot be underestimated. Copyright is the principal tool used by creative workers to generate sustainable income and wealth and protect their share of the value that they create. We have to remember always that the creative industries are the only industries where something is consistently created from absolutely nothing, hence the importance of copyright as the wealth of artists, musicians and others.

According to the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, €9.2 billion in copyright royalties was collected and distributed to artists in 2016 across five global regions from the music, audiovisual, literature, dramatic and visual sectors. The British Equity collection service distributed more than €10 million to UK performers for their work in British film and television.

Copyright prevents third parties from profiting from the labour of creative people without paying for the exploitation of that labour. Historically, it is the artist's protection against the extraction of value. Writers, directors, designers, visual and plastic artists, songwriters, composers etc. all own the copyright on the work that they make. It is illegal to sell on or otherwise use or profit from a text, a performance or an image without the express permission of the creator of that text, performance or image and without providing mutually agreed equitable remuneration for that use.

Will the Minister of State explain further why the copyright council, which was recommended within the report that I mentioned, has not been catered for in this Bill? The Minister of State, Deputy Jim Daly, in response to my colleague, Deputy Quinlivan, stated that it is Government policy to reduce quangos and that the establishment of a copyright council had not been fully quantified on that basis. That is a very poor reasoning and, when substantial reports like this one are worked on and one of the core recommendations is so easily dismissed, that sets a bad precedent.

The Australian Copyright Council, the Copyright Council of New Zealand, and the British Copyright Council all cover the duties and functions similar to what is outlined in the Modernising Copyright report. These are all private, not-for-profit bodies that are funded primarily, I presume, through membership fees. A private not-for-profit approach with a membership fee could also be taken in Ireland, as suggested in the consultation paper. Work and consultation could also be done through the Department to help launch such a body that would establish an advocacy, advisory and stakeholder-led copyright council. With the booming screen industry and with famous music and visual art industries, we have further expert-led opinion advising on policy to protect our artists' intellectual property. I may table amendments on this area on Committee Stage, but I would like to hear the Minister of State's response regarding the establishment of a copyright council.

In addition, and I have spoken on this on numerous occasions, I am very disappointed that the Bill has not facilitated a legal digital deposit. I am conscious that an amendment was passed at the behest of Fianna Fáil in the Dáil to bring about a feasibility study. We need to be conscious of our general acceptance that what goes online stays there forever. The reality, from those who have done their homework on this, is that 35% of what goes online is not available the following year, and much less is available ten years later. Libraries and national institutions have a responsibility to archive all physical publications in the State and it is of great importance that we do not lose what goes online because this is an issue of national memory. I refer to things such as recent referendum campaigns and all such matters. The National Library of Ireland has the ability to sweep the .ie domain. I believe 20 of 28 EU member states have digital legal deposits in place. We cannot lose this information for future generations.

The legislation only allows for restrained depositing by our deposit institutions which have to request to have publications archived rather than being allowed to sweep the domain regularly. We are looking at the possibility of mass non-compliance where digital publications are not archived at all. How would the National Library of Ireland approach every individual publication or publisher? It is not possible, and mass non-compliance will follow from this.

In addition, when the Minister, Deputy Humphreys, was in what is now the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, they conducted a consultation in which 42 responses, or 90% of the people who were consulted on the issue, said we very much need to establish a digital deposit scheme. The Minister has since moved to the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation which has responsibility for this issue and the matter seems to be off the table or pushed down the line with no appetite to follow through on it. This is of great concern and I reserve my right to table amendments on the issue in future debates.

I welcome the Minister of State to the Chamber and this important Bill. As a member of Civil Engagement, I worked closely with Senator John Dolan who has pushed tirelessly to raise disability issues in the House. Having spoken to the Senator and some of the leading organisations dealing with disability issues, I want to flag some of their concerns on Second Stage.

A key aspect of the Bill is that it allows for the transposition of an EU directive enabling us to ratify the Marrakesh treaty. As has been noted, this treaty, adopted in 2013 by the World Intellectual Property Organisation, aims to improve the availability and cross-border exchange of books and other print material in accessible formats around the world for people who are blind, visually impaired or otherwise print disabled. This is a noble, important goal and something I am delighted to see Ireland supporting.

It is widely acknowledged that people who are blind and vision impaired continue to face many barriers in accessing books and other print material due to overly restrictive copyright provisions and related rights. These are unnecessary barriers to inclusion that we should rightly be dismantling, as the treaty and this Bill are trying to do. They seek to require contracting parties to provide modest exceptions or limitations on copyright holders in order to share works in accessible formats, and for cross-border exchange. As a legislator, I am delighted that such work can improve a child's access to vital educational material that otherwise might not be available.

I will raise a couple of points highlighted by the National Council for the Blind of Ireland, NCBI, the national sight loss agency. The NCBI is a not-for-profit charitable organisation providing support and services nationwide to people experiencing sight loss. It views the legislation as a positive step that will help many people in Ireland. The NCBI's library and media centre is the main accessible book production unit in Ireland. It produces books in audio and Braille and provides guidelines for larger print productions. At this point, the library holds more than 20,000 titles in accessible formats, and it works as a member of the Accessible Books Consortium, and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. The Marrakesh treaty will have a real, tangible impact on the media centre, improving production schedules, inter-library loans and significantly increasing the number of books produced in accessible formats. This is made easier by the fact that, as it stands, economic compensation will not be imposed upon authorised entities in Ireland for the distribution of accessible works. Such compensation schemes, which are optional for EU member states, make it harder and more expensive to produce and share accessible books. I am glad that the Government is proceeding in this manner.

The NCBI was also pleased to note the Government will not apply the second optional clause in the treaty, which allows countries to ban the creation of accessible copies if the copyright owner has previously made the work commercially available. This could mean an academic textbook cannot be converted into e-Braille if it has already been released by the publisher in this format. Again, this is about pushing for more inclusion and making vital resources like textbooks as available as possible.

However, the NCBI raised concerns about the definition of the term "authorised entity" used in the legislation. It asks that the definition be amended to mirror the definition used in Article 2 of the Marrakesh treaty. This has a wider scope and includes non-profit organisations that provide services "to beneficiary persons as one of its primary activities". This would slightly extend the capacity of non-governmental organisations, NGOs, to help in this vital work. I ask the Minister of State to respond to this recommendation.

Similarly, would authorised entities need to seek a licence from the Minister? The NCBI believes its library and media centre, a fantastic resource, should be considered as an authorised entity for the purposes of this legislation because it has systems in place to maintain the integrity and security of works. I flag this issue at this stage of the debate. I would appreciate if the Minister of State commented on this point.

I welcome the Minister of State. I will not take my full time as I will speak to only one aspect of the Bill. It relates to the Minister of State's opening comment that the Bill is the result of detailed analysis and examination of the recommendations contained in the copyright review committee's report of 2013, Modernising Copyright. While the Bill is said to take account of certain of these recommendations, I have been briefed that the problem is that the Bill only takes account of those recommendations in favour of big content and does not implement the balancing recommendations made in that report in favour of users. The concern is that the Bill is unbalanced because it seems to ignore the copyright review committee's main recommendations relating to users. This means that current common practices, like private copying and format shifting, are infringements of copyright, which should not be the case. Committee Stage is fairly soon and this matter has only been brought to my attention in the past 24 hours. I hope to introduce amendments on Committee Stage based on the copyright review committee recommendations to give effect to normal user expectations.

The report states:

if the exceptions are too narrow, this could stifle user innovation, to say nothing of freedom of expression...  Accommodating basic and genuine user expectations alongside the legitimate interests of rights owners makes copyright law stable and sustainable, thereby contributing generally to cultural and economic development and innovation.

It subsequently states:

the main argument in favour of private copying exceptions relates to users' reasonable assumptions and basic expectations. Users now commonly assume and expect that, if they buy content for personal (as opposed to commercial) use, they should be able to access it in various formats and across multiple devices. As a consequence, many users routinely make copies for private use, and do not believe that this is or should be against the law. Failure to acknowledge this would diminish respect for the system of copyright and undermine the credibility of copyright legislation.

That is a critical quote relating as it does to the real, day-to-day practice of many users and the impact that copyright law has. The point is that users routinely copy materials for private use without believing this in any way breaches copyright legislation. This should be in some way recognised in law, as the review committee recommended. Exceptions could include amending the definition of fair dealing, providing for reproductions on paper for private use, permitting format shifting and back-ups, and facilitating non-commercial, user generated content.

There are a number of ways the Bill could be strengthened. I am not opposing it in any way, but I am drawing the attention of the Minister of State, his colleague, the Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Business and Innovation, Deputy Halligan, and his officials to the concerns many stakeholders have about the way in which the Bill purports to implement the recommendations of the copyright review committee. I know the Minister of State indicated the regulatory impact assessment outlining particular reasons certain recommendations were not implemented, but a crucial question, one which I hope will be explored in more detail on Committee Stage, is why the Bill appears to have a lack of balance in terms of the recommendations that are being implemented and those that are not. I do not necessarily expect a response from the Minister of State today as it is more a matter for Committee Stage. I am simply highlighting my intention to return to the issue on Committee Stage next week.

I thank all of the Senators who contributed to the debate. I have listened intensely, as have the officials from the Department. The various issues that have been raised will be considered further by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation as the Bill makes its way through this House. It is intended to have Committee Stage on 3 October, which is next week, subject to the agreement of the House. There may be a chance before that to engage with officials about some of the issues and concerns that Senator Bacik raised. I will touch on them a little more. The Senator may have missed it, but I noted earlier that the officials will be pleased to engage with Senators on any issue they may wish to raise in the next week.

This is detailed and technical legislation. When implemented, it will organise and expand copyright and related rights in Ireland. I will now address some but not all of the concerns raised. I will revert to Senators with full answers, if necessary, in the next couple of days.

Senator Warfield raised an issue about capturing and preserving the web and having a full digital deposit system.

The committee's recommendation outlines the creation of such a system. It is intended to facilitate the recording, archiving and utilisation for research purposes of websites with Irish domain names, which are not currently archived. While the intention is to record material that may otherwise be removed from the web over time, it is a significant project that requires multi-institutional collaborations and significant resources and skill sets for capturing and preserving Ireland's digital record. I was involved in some of this when I was in this Department a number of years ago. It is a very complicated and an important area, and the Senator is right to highlight it. It is in the report.

An amendment requesting the introduction of such a system was tabled on Committee Stage in Dáil Éireann and resulted in a good discussion with Deputies at the time. The intention to capture the web for preservation purposes is a noble one. However, it is a significant project and not simply a matter of amending copyright legislation. That is a part of it but it would not be enough by itself. Aside from any technical amendment to the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000, other issues must be scrutinised when considering and developing any legislative changes. Government issues and public interest issues impact rights holders. The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht is the Department with responsibility for policy in this area. The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and my Department have been actively working together on the matter for some time now and will continue to do so. I want to ensure a robust regulatory framework is developed and to facilitate the necessary corresponding legislative amendments in due course.

The amendment tabled on Report Stage which calls for a report to be published on the matter within 12 months of the enactment of the Bill was accepted and is viewed as a pragmatic way to advance the project while allowing time for the necessary work to take place. The House can be assured both Departments are actively engaged and a proposal on that report will be prepared as specified in the Bill. I am conscious that the Minister of State, Deputy Halligan, is committed to this issue. Senator Warfield probably wanted a quicker answer to his question, but there is a process to go through. There is a commitment to do that. Perhaps the acceptance of the amendment providing for a report within 12 months gives us an end date to having this ready. The Senator might be happy enough with that or he might want to discuss the matter further in the week or two ahead, but the intention is there to achieve what he wants achieved. I think we all see the merits of the proposal; it is just a question of being able to do it properly.

What does the Bill do in respect of digital deposits? The copyright review committee recommends that the Bill broaden the copyright deposit system to enable existing copyright deposit institutions to accept published material in electronic format as well as, or instead of, physical copies. This will benefit copyright deposit institutions, allowing them to collect non-print works to produce a shared archive of digital works and to facilitate the development of Ireland's national printed archive. It will also allow for print works no longer published in hard copy format to be deposited and ensure the continued archiving of important documents. This includes many Government reports and documents which are no longer published in hard copy or as a matter of course, so this proposal will probably help in that respect.

Another question Senator Warfield and others raised concerned the copyright council. It is true to say the copyright review committee recommended the establishment of a copyright council with a wide range of functions. The committee envisaged that the board of the council would be comprised of a diverse range of stakeholders with an active interest in different aspects and agendas relating to copyright matters. This ranged from individual authors, composers and photographers to organisations of a large scale with online platforms and included participation of representatives of user organisations; therefore, a long list of people will be required for this. With such a diverse range of stakeholders, it is likely there will be considerable difficulties trying to reach consensus on issues within the council and it will be very difficult to propose a unary view to the Minister in terms of policymaking.

The whole idea of having the council was to be able to bring forward recommendations to the Minister of the day. We are not really sure if that will happen if all these diverse members are on the council. Although the intention of the committee was that the copyright council would be self-financing, this new body will require significant resources in terms of the initial cost involved in the establishment of the council and the ongoing running costs such as staffing, premises, etc.

Senator Warfield mentioned solutions. The resources would need to come from within the resources of the Department which is already stretched to cover the broad remit of the statutory functions involved. It is also the case that since the publication of the report, some of the proposed functions of the council are no longer necessary, such as the introduction of an orphan works licensing agency in Ireland. The Senator has raised the matter and we will tease it through, including the issues of the cost and the management of it.

It is fair to say that during the process, probably in the past five years, a long list of interested stakeholders has been assembled. Over 400 groups or individuals are now involved in a consultation process with us as a Department. If there are issues of concern or any changes, they will be immediately consulted through email and so on. This is in a way better than what was there before. It is probably not quite what Senator Warfield wants achieved for the council, but there is that opportunity to engage now. We have the list of people who are interested and we can move along more easily now.

Furthermore, the establishment of a copyright council has not been fully quantified, given the Government's general policy orientation at the time to reduce the number of new public bodies. This goes back to what Senator Warfield said about quangos. There is an aim, and there has been probably since 2011-12, to reduce the number of unnecessary quangos because they get very costly and they grow in their roles and their remits. We are trying to avoid this unless it is really necessary; therefore, it is probably the case that it has just not really been proved yet that the establishment of a copyright council is totally necessary.

There will be an opportunity to debate this more on Committee Stage if Senator Warfield so wishes. Having been involved in this issue originally a couple of years ago, I am not convinced it is needed. What is needed is that proper consultation which I think is happening quite well now through the Department and the committee structure we have set up here which I think works very well. There is a cross-party approach to much of the work we do and the committee is a great place to have this consultation. However, if the Senator wants to press the case a little more with the Minister of State, Deputy Halligan, he can do so on Committee Stage later in the week.

Senator Warfield also asked a question about the necessary amendments to transpose the EU directive on the Marrakesh treaty. The directive will be transposed by way of secondary legislation which will be completed by the specified transposition deadline on 11 October. However, the Bill does make a number of changes to the provisions applicable to all persons with a disability. The Bill will allow designated bodies to make multiple accessible format copies of works, transfer those copies to other designated bodies that need them and accept modified copies from other designated bodies. This is a positive amendment which will provide persons with a disability with greater access to works which I think we all want to achieve if we can.

Senator Reilly mentioned the benefits of text and data mining. I think he is right. That is why we are trying to make it a little easier. He is right to say this will help research and projects in educational institutes. We are trying to encourage a lot more co-operation with the private business community, with the State research community. This means greater access to data with some great results through all the work being done, through Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the tech centres and involving all of the various Departments. It is a matter of bringing the information and the science community together. This will benefit them, as the Senator is right to highlight. It can lead to great results. He also welcomed the deposit system and the paper society. I think I responded to those points.

A few other points were raised by, I think, Senators Reilly and Mullen about enforcing rights in a modern digital age. It is right to say access to the lower courts is a step in the right direction because we are all aware of the high costs of getting justice. That cost often prevents justice; therefore, we are trying to deal with and allow for it. The Senators correctly highlight that issue. I agree that enforcement is important and the intention is to reduce the costs of accessing justice. Changing the route to access should help reduce those costs, but that is something we can monitor as we go along.

To respond to the last question from Senator Bacik, I know that she did not want a full answer on it and there will be a chance over the week to engage, but the copyright review committee did recommend the introduction of a private copying exception into Irish law. The recommendation outlined that the private copying exception would be framed for private and domestic uses and would cover reproduction on paper for private use, format shifting and reproductions for backup copies.

Copyright law in the UK was amended in 2014 to introduce a private copying exception without a levy. This permitted people to make private copies of legally acquired content and allowed consumers to transfer their own CDs onto their MP3 players, for example, but not allow people to make copies and give them to others. The UK provision was successfully judicially reviewed based on insufficient evidence shown of the lack of "harm" caused to rights holders and thus quashed in 2015. Given that the exception proposed by the copyright review committee for implementation in Ireland was similar to the failed UK exception and our expectation that it would almost certainly be legally challenged and struck down, it was decided not to progress the committee's recommendation in this area. Furthermore, my Department does not want to introduce a system of levies in Ireland that would impose additional costs on consumers. This is something we are trying to avoid. Again, though, there will be time in the next week or two for the Senator to look at the matter more with the Minister of State and his officials if she so wishes. I thank the Senator for raising the issue.

Question put and agreed to.

When is it proposed to take Committee Stage?

Committee Stage ordered for Tuesday, 2 October 2018.
Sitting suspended at 1.40 p.m. and resumed at 2.05 p.m.