I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy Halligan, to the House.
Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Law Provisions Bill 2018: Committee Stage
Amendments Nos. 1 and 3 to 5, inclusive, are related. Amendment No. 4 is a physical alternative to amendment No. 3. The amendments will be discussed together by agreement. Is that agreed? Agreed. A seconder is not required at this Stage for the first amendment.
I move amendment No. 1:
In page 16, line 18, after "given in" to insert "an educational institution or in".
I have very valuable and able seconders, including my colleague, Senator Bacik. I have just landed from a six hour flight so I am a bit daft. Senator Warfield and probably Senator Ruane also support the amendment.
I have been briefed on these matters by Professor Eoin O'Dell. I am not sure if he is in the Gallery; I cannot see because I have broken my glasses. I tried over the past five days to contact him by email and telephone without success but luckily I managed to get a copy of the amendments on my way to the plane in Larnaca this morning. I have read them and I have a certain understanding of them.
Although this is a technical Bill and the amendments are therefore technical as well, they seem to cover an important range of subjects. I will deal with the first two as I am sure we will have a little argument to and fro, particularly as I have distinguished legal colleagues with me. As I see it, the primary aim of the amendments is to enable people in an academic atmosphere - in a university, library or somewhere like that - to have access to copyrighted material outside the restrictions of natural copyright. I very much welcome the fact that the Minister of State is taking charge of the Bill as I know he is open-minded. I remember approximately 15 years ago there were alarms about the question of copyright and the length of copyright. I spoke to the then Minister who was responsible for the matter and warned about the attempt by the European Union to standardise copyright. I argued it would have a very significant effect on the studies of the works of Mr. James Joyce, for example. The Minister took that on board but this was introduced as a statutory instrument from the European Union under a heading that did not immediately attract attention to the literary component. As a result, it went through and we followed the example of the majority of countries in Europe, extending the length of time under which copyright subsisted from 50 years to 70 years, with pretty catastrophic consequences for Joyce scholarship.
The Bill would insert the following subsection:
(2) Without prejudice to the generality of section 50(1), the brief and limited display of a copy of a work —
(i) in a prescribed library or prescribed archive or by the librarian or archivist of a prescribed library or prescribed archive, or
(ii) during the course of a public lecture given in a prescribed library or prescribed archive or given by the librarian or archivist of a prescribed library or prescribed archive,
In a brief discussion with the Minister of State in the ante-room, he assured me the scope of the amendments was covered by the Bill. Professor O'Dell and my supporting colleagues are concerned that the Bill is not broad enough.
We need to include the words "an educational institution or in". It seems to be restricted to a library or a public lecture in a prescribed library or undertaken for the sole purpose of education accompanied by sufficient acknowledgement. It would strengthen the Bill if we included "an educational institution or in".
I welcome the Minister of State to the House and the opportunity to debate this Bill on Committee Stage. I echo the words of Senator Norris about my Trinity colleague, Professor Eoin O'Dell. I thank him for his engagement with so many of us on this Bill and on potential amendments to it. Speaking on Second Stage, I pointed out some of the issues raised by Professor O'Dell which we are hoping to address in these amendments. As Senator Norris has said, they have been proposed by a number of us - not only Senator Norris, myself and the other members of our technical group, Labour Senators Nash, Humphreys and Ó Ríordáin, but also by Senators Boyhan and Warfield. In these amendments, and specifically in the group I am discussing now, amendment Nos. 1 and 3 to 5, inclusive, we are hoping to address the concerns I raised on Second Stage. The concern was that the Bill was unbalanced without amendment because it seems to ignore the copyright review committee's main recommendations in its 2013 report, Modernising Copyright. That committee was chaired by Professor O'Dell.
The recommendations we are concerned about relate to users. To put it simply, we want to ensure that the Bill provides for user rights to format, shift and to back up and to provide for a private copying levying scheme to compensate rights owners accordingly. The difficulty, and Senator Norris expressed this eloquently, is that people may not realise they are carrying out activities that may amount to an infringement of copyright. We must ensure those activities are protected by exceptions, that are permitted by EU law, in the Bill. Exceptions to copyright allowed by EU directive include what I have mentioned - format shifting and backing up. Format shifting means transferring music from one device to another, copying music from a compact disc, CD, to a phone to listen to it or copying a digital video disc, DVD, to a tablet.
These sorts of matters should be excepted where they are done for private purposes and are not damaging the underlying aims of copyright law. We should make exceptions like this in our copyright legislation. I understand the concern from Professor O'Dell. I am no copyright expert nor do I purport to be but the concerns expressed are that the Bill does not take sufficient account of the recommendations in the report on making copies for private use, such as in the ways I have described - format shifting and making backups. We have been told that the main argument in favour of such private copying exceptions is to reflect consumers' reasonable assumptions, basic expectations and widespread practices. That is what the copyright review committee has said. The EU directive permits national law to introduce limitations and exceptions to enable user rights. That is Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society.
The specific point is that private copying exceptions for format shifting and backing up, which would be permitted by the directive and were proposed by the committee, are not included in the Bill. If they are and we have missed that, we would be delighted to hear it, as Senator Norris has said. The Minister of State has mentioned that he thinks the concerns we have raised are addressed through this Bill. We are being told that they are not and we are concerned to ensure that they are. Otherwise, the concern is that the law would not be realistic. It would be a law that would, effectively, be unenforceable, unenforced and widely ignored by consumers. Private users and consumers, however, would incur liability if we do not provide for the sort of user rights we are describing. That is the crux of the amendments we are proposing. We do have longer explanations for the need for the amendments but, essentially, they are trying to ensure that the recommendations of the review committee on user rights are enshrined in this law. I will come in at a later stage if debate arises.
I welcome the Minister of State to the House. As I stated previously, it sets a bad precedent when the State uses a substantial amount of time and resources in compiling reports and then ignores the recommendations. The Modernising Copyright report was widely welcomed by all the stakeholders who contributed to that process. The omission of aspects that allow for private copying exceptions, such as format shifting and backing up as mentioned by previous Senators, are particularly disappointing. Amendments Nos. 1 and 3 provide for fair usage in public lectures and educational establishments. In those circumstances, the use of content is for the public good and format shifting or backing up should not be restricted when the content was legally obtained and done purely for educational purposes. The protection we seek here is crucial for teaching and learning and it does not go past those confines. I hope the Government will accept this and allow the use of content for the public good.
Amendments Nos. 4 and 5 replace "means" with "includes" in the definitions of fair dealing. It is a simple amendment that changes the definitions so that we can re-examine this in the future. The reasons for doing so are clear. We should not close the door on private copying exceptions. This was stated in the Modernising Copyright report as well. We are an outlier in the EU for having these in place. In conclusion, these amendments are second best to what we could potentially provide for in amendments Nos. 6 to 8 and I would be happy to withdraw the amendments we are discussing here should the Government indicate support for amendments Nos. 6 to 8.
Would the Minister of State like to respond?
I would please. I thank all of the Senators for their amendments. Senator Bacik, if I am not wrong, spoke about amendments Nos. 6 and 8. We might talk about those later. I will concentrate first on amendments Nos. 1 and 3 to 5, inclusive. I will not be accepting amendments Nos. 1 and 3 as provision has already been made elsewhere in the Bill and I will go to through that as comprehensively as I can. It is a complicated and technical Bill. I will also not be accepting amendments Nos. 4 and 5 because that would result, as we have been advised, in a measure which is not legally sound because it does not have sufficient certainty.
Amendments Nos. 1 and 3 propose the inclusion of additional wording. This would provide that educational establishments will not be liable for copyright infringement if they make a copy or a communication of a work or a performance for the sole purpose of illustration for education, teaching or scientific research or the preparation for education, teaching, or scientific research. It is not required. On amendment No. 1, section 18 relates solely to fair dealing in copyright works for libraries and archives. It proceeds to outline the various exceptions applicable in that area. The exception sought by the Senators is already provided for in the Bill in section 14, which amends section 57 of the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000. That is in regard to illustration for education, teaching or scientific research. It provides for an exception for the use of copyright works in illustrating for education, teaching and scientific research.
On amendment No. 3, the section it relates to, section 28, relates solely to fair dealing and performance for libraries and archives and proceeds to outline the various exceptions applicable in that area. The exception sought by the Senators is to amend section 28 of the Bill by replacing subsection 3 of section 221 of the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 to ensure that educational establishments, libraries and archives will not be liable for copyright infringement if such bodies make use of the performance as long as the interests of the rights owner are not affected and where use is accompanied by sufficient acknowledgement. It is not proposed to accept the amendment because section 28 relates solely to fair dealing for performance for libraries and archives. The exception for performance in education sought by the Senators is already provided in section 29 of the Bill through the inclusion of new sections 225B, 225C and 225D in the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000. The exception for libraries and archives is provided for in section 31 of the Bill which creates a new section 235A in the in the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000.
Both of the exceptions, already included in the Bill, provide that it is not a copyright infringement to make a copy of a communication of a copyright work or performance for the sole purpose of illustration for education, teaching or scientific research or for the preparation for education, teaching or scientific research. This would include being used as part of a lecture in an educational institution. Sections 14, 29 and 31 clearly meet the objectives of the Senators, namely, to permit the use of works while providing education and I respectfully request that amendments Nos. 1 and 3 be withdrawn.
I will discuss amendments Nos. 4 and 5 put forward by the Senators, which propose the deletion of the word "means" and replacing it with the word "includes" in two different sections. Section 28 of the Bill, which amends section 221 of the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000, and section 37 of the Bill, which amends both sections 54 and 329(2) of the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000. The proposed amendment would have the effect of broadening the scope of the exception on fair dealing with a copyright protected work that is provided for already in section 54 of the Copyright and Related Rights Act, fair dealing with a copyright protected performance in section 221 of the Copyright and Related Rights Act, and fair dealing with a copyright protected database in section 392(2) of the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000.
During extensive legal drafting of the Bill, the Department consulted the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, OPC, and discussed at length the wording in the Bill to ensure that it is legally sound, including on that precise point. The use of the word "means" in the three sections of the Copyright and Related Rights Act involved provides clarity as to the meaning of fair dealing and ensures that there are boundaries and limits around the use of copy protected works, performances and databases. Changing the word from "means" to "include" would broaden the scope of these fair dealing exceptions and could result in an unintended consequence such as a reduced protection for the rightsholders, and could result in rightsholders, and we are told this legally, challenging the legality of this section of the Bill.
I know this matter is complicated. If Senators would like further meetings to discuss the matter I would be delighted to oblige. I have been given the legal advice that amendment No. 1 is covered. In terms of amendments Nos. 4 and 5, we have been told for legal reasons that it would be unacceptable to accept the amendments.
I thank the Minister of State for his very clear explanation. It seems to me that there is quite a large amount of justification behind what he says so I am not going to call a vote on these amendments. However, I will see if I can contact Professor O'Dell, who is a very distinguished member of the staff of Trinity College, and has gone to a great deal of trouble to provide these amendments to myself and my colleagues. I will take back what the Minister of State has said and see where we go and reserve the right to reintroduce these amendments, or some of them, on Report Stage.
I have a certain amount of sympathy with the argument that holders of copyright might be prejudiced in this. I know, for example, in the music industry there is a very considerable concern about the fact that nowadays people do not get royalties from records and-----
-----they do not get royalties from DVDs. People are able to download this material, and I know that many young people think this is an absolutely marvellous idea. People with creative energy have to be rewarded so I will take these amendments back.
My attention was drawn to section 28(2) of the Bill and I was delighted to see the following: "Fair dealing with a recording of a performance for the purposes of caricature, parody or pastiche shall not infringe the copyright in that work". Hear, hear. I am all in favour of parody, pastiche and satire. There is not half enough of it around and anything that encourages it is to be welcomed.
I know the Minister of State wants to comment but Senator Bacik indicated a wish to speak. Does she wish to comment before him?
I am delighted to be able to clarify, as best as I can, the issues that both of the Senators raised. I would be delighted to further clarify the matters for them at a meeting to be arranged as their convenience.
I thank the Minister of State.
I appreciate that the Senators will not call a vote. We have gone to great exhaustive lengths legally to make sure that every precisely was carried through in this Bill. I regret that maybe at an earlier Stage that we were not able to indicate to Senators that the matter was already included in the Bill. My apologies for that.
I am sure the Minister of State would agree that my colleagues, who signed the amendments, could be included in such a meeting.
Absolutely. I would be delighted.
Is the amendment being withdrawn?
I withdraw my amendment but retain the right to resubmit on Report Stage.
Yes. I will come back to the Senator.
I call Senator Bacik.
I take the point made by the Minister of State about the language used in amendments Nos. 3 to 5, inclusive. Like Senator Norris, I agree to withdraw the amendments and I welcome the opportunity to meet the Minister of State and his officials to discuss the issues in them.
On amendment No. 1 specifically, I thank the Minister of State for his clarification. He made the point that the issue is already addressed in amendment No. 14, which amends section 57 of the principal Act and refers to the education, teaching and scientific research. I am puzzled, from a drafting point of view, as to why section 18 is, therefore, necessary at all or why section 14 did not simply include, within the amendment to section 57, the fair dealing by librarians and archivists. It seems to be somewhat-----
-----a duplication that one has both exceptions about copies and communications of work "for the sole purpose of illustration for education, teaching or scientific research" contained in section 14 provision yet there is a whole separate section, which will now be section 69A of the principal Act, provided for in section 18, which relate to fair dealing by librarians and archivists. The legislation is so specifically drafted. I presume there is a reason for that but I just fail to see it and why it could not simply have been encompassed - the use of copying in public lectures by librarians and archivists. I cannot understand why that provision could not have been encompassed in what seems to me the broader provision, which would the amended section 57 provided for in section 14 of this Bill. It just struck me as odd and that is why we made that proposal in our amendment No. 1. We did so because it clearly seemed to us that it would be much more likely to have these sort of public lectures given in educational institutions. It seemed odd that the Government would have such a lengthy and specific exception provided for in section 69A, without referring to educational institutions. I wonder what was the reason for doing so. Again, like Senator Norris, I am happy to withdraw the amendment. As Senator Warfield has said, all of us would take the view that these amendments are of less import than amendments Nos. 6 to 9, inclusive, which we will be discussing shortly.
I will let Senator Warfield to comment before the Minister of State. Perhaps the Senator wishes to raise similar issues.
Yes. Senator Bacik mentioned my small contribution. Like I said in my opening remarks, I believe these amendments are somewhat unnecessary if the Government is willing to accept amendments Nos. 7 and 8. Will the Minister of State let us know what he is thinking in terms of amendments Nos. 7 and 8?
What was required in this detailed and technical matter was precise clarification of all aspects of the Bill. I will refer again to section 14, which relates to education provisions. To follow existing structures of the CRRA, libraries and archives are in a separate section and we do not want to cause confusion for the stakeholders. I think that was the reason. Maybe it was done too precisely but the objective was to cover every aspect. The two separate sections were put in so as not to cause confusion for the stakeholders.
There are libraries in educational institutions.
I understand that.
I take the point made by the Minister of State. Of course, municipal libraries and Dublin City Council libraries, for example, are very different from lectures in universities, institutes of technology or colleges. Obviously there are libraries in educational institutions where public lectures are given too.
Yes. One also gives public lectures in public libraries.
Yes. I have given lectures in such places.
There are public lectures in the Pearse Street Library.
Yes. It just seems that there is some duplication and certainly some overlap.
They should give public lectures in public libraries.
Yes, certainly. It just seems that there is some duplication - certainly there is some overlap. Perhaps the principle Act provides for that, but I am not aware that there is a different definition of libraries in educational institutions.
I understand where the Senator is coming from. I have provided the results in order to avoid confusion for stakeholders. Perhaps at a later meeting we might be able to clarify this with officials and go through it in more detail, because I appreciate that it is very technical. I found it very technical when I went through it. However, I believe that the best interests of the stakeholders has been taken into account in all aspects of this Bill. If any Senators require further clarification I would be delighted to set up a meeting with the officials as early as possible to go through it and clarify it.
I will withdraw the amendment, with the provision that I might introduce it on Report Stage.
I move amendment No. 2:
In page 21, line 41, to delete “any combination thereof).”.” and substitute the following:
“any combination thereof).
(4B)(a) It is not an infringement of the rights conferred by this Act if a Board or authority to which this section applies reproduces any work that is made available in the State through the internet.
(b) Where any work has been made available in the State through the internet without a restriction as to its access or use, then it is not an infringement of the rights conferred by this Act if a Board or authority to which this section applies reproduces that work and makes it available through the internet without a restriction as to its access or use, whether or not that work continues to be available elsewhere through the internet.
(c) For the purposes of this subsection, a work shall have been made available in the State through the internet where—
(i) it is made available to the public either from a website with a domain name which relates to the State or to a place within the State, or by similar or related means, or
(ii) it is made available to the public either by a person any of whose activities relating to the creation or the publication of the digital publication takes place within the State, or by a person with similar or related connections to the State.”.”.
Amendments Nos. 2 and 9 provide for the creation of a legal digital deposit. I have raised his issue many times in the House. The legislation puts the onus on copyright deposit institutions to request each and every publication they wish to deposit. This is well beyond the resource capacity of any of our national institutions, for example, the National Library of Ireland. The inevitable result of this is that material will be lost. While other states have facilities for capturing their web domains, for example, nobody is systematically capturing the .ie web domain. I have been designing websites since I was 15, and the Minister and his colleagues in the Department will know all too well about the Wayback Machine. It is a not-for-profit enterprise, like Wikipedia, which captures web pages. We need to reflect on the law that provides for hard copies of books and apply it to the digital age, and we need to do it fast.
The only logical solution is to allow the National Library of Ireland and other bodies to sweep the .ie domain at regular intervals and to capture the contents. Libraries and museums have historically been the custodians for everything that is published. They are custodians of our national cultural heritage, and they are the best places to collectively store that knowledge. Such a process would have to be mindful of journalism or other work behind paywalls. We could look at international best practice for that. Some national libraries have every website available on-site; one would have to go into the national libraries to view the files or contents of the websites. If we do not act we risk websites such as the campaign for civil marriage equality, the Together for Yes campaign or the pro-life campaign disappearing. Most web pages disappear, on average, within 100 days, so the longer we wait the more we lose.
The legislation proposes that the responsibility for depositing the material would be given to each publisher. Notwithstanding the administrative burden and resource problems I mentioned, such an approach would leave the process open to non-compliance. Mass non-compliance in the creation of a legal deposit simply defeats the purpose. I am aware that the Fianna Fáil amendment, which was accepted in the Dáil during Report Stage, establishes a feasibility study into the creation of a legal digital deposit to start 12 months after the enactment of this Bill. However, the study may take one to two years to complete and a further one to two years to be brought forward as legislation, which is too long. I have mentioned that the average life of an individual web page on any website is 100 days. I have also mentioned the fact that we are lagging behind our European counterparts on this. For these reasons, a feasibility study would only delay this matter further.
My interest in this comes from the cultural aspect. The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht commissioned a consultation on establishing a legal digital deposit. The support from Trinity College Dublin and the National Library of Ireland, among other libraries, was overwhelming; some 90% of the feedback the Department received was in support of the establishment of a digital deposit. It was strongly recommended. Has there been much engagement between the two Departments? The consultation developed when the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Deputy Humphreys, was the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
The need for such an endeavour has been pointed out by the copyright deposit institutions, which strongly supported this proposal in the public consultation. It was also mentioned in the modernising copyright report, published in October 2013, five years ago. The consultation with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht was carried out in April 2017. The time for examining feasibility has long passed. It should have been done as soon as it was recommended. The only way we can have certainty in respect of this issue is to provide for it in law through this Bill, and I respectfully encourage the Government to do so.
I have a good deal of sympathy with the intentions behind this amendment. It seems that it would be absurd to allow material to be publically available on the Internet yet still make it an offence for someone else to copy it. It is something of a nonsense, and Senator Warfield has made a good point about that. I am slightly concerned about one of the subsections, which reads:
For the purposes of this subsection, a work shall have been made available in the State through the internet where—
(i) it is made available to the public either from a website with a domain name which relates to the State or to a place within the State, or by similar or related means.
That seems to be very broad indeed, and would allow for all kinds of odd websites to make this type of claims. I am interested in what the Senator has to say about that.
My understanding is that we are talking about amendments Nos. 2 to 9, inclusive. Is that correct?
No, we are only talking about amendment No. 2.
I thank the Leas-Chathaoirleach. I was going to speak to some other amendments.
The Senator is looking at the wrong Bill.
I have developed the gift of prophecy. I beg your pardon, it is the wrong Bill.
The Senator stands corrected. Did Senator Bacik indicate that she wishes to speak?
I call the Minister of State.
I thank Senator Warfield for his amendment. I have listened to the rationale behind it. I wish to ensure that the issue of capturing the web is not confused with a digital deposit system, particularly as they are two distinct matters. As recommended by the copyright review committee, the Bill broadens the existing copyright deposit system to enable the copyright deposit institutions to accept published material in electronic format as well as, or instead of, physical copies. This will allow copyright deposit institutions to collect non-print works in order to produce a shared archive of digital works, and facilitate the development of Ireland's national printed archive. It will also allow for works no longer published in hardcopy format to be deposited and ensure the continued archiving of important documents, including many Government reports and documents which are no longer published in hardcopy as a matter of course.
On the Senator Warfield's amendment, regarding the inclusion of a section to permit the deposit institution, board or authority to capture the web. This amendment essentially provides for a full digital deposit system that would facilitate recording and archiving and would make available websites with Irish domain names that are not currently archived, as long as the website is not paywall or password protected. I understand that the Minister of State, Deputy English, provided a response in respect of this issue on Second Stage, but I am happy to elaborate further and clarify the position. Providing for a full digital deposit system that would facilitate capturing the web is not simply a matter of changing copyright legislation. It is a significant national project that requires multi-institutional collaboration, significant resources and Skillsnet for capturing and preserving Ireland's digital record, according to my advice. I reiterate that this is a matter for the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, who has responsibility for policy in this area. My Department and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht have actively worked together on that matter for some time and we will continue to do so until the robust regulatory framework is developed. We will facilitate the necessary corresponding legislation amendments in due course.
This work, however, is not yet sufficiently progressed for any technical amendments to copyright law. As that is the final aspect of the project, now that all the necessary due diligence has been done, Government mechanisms have been established and funding has been agreed with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, it is not possible for amendments to copyright law to be progressed in isolation from Government approval for the project as a whole. An initial amendment was tabled on Committee Stage in Dáil Éireann by a number of Deputies, including Deputy Quinlivan from the Senator's party, and it gave rise to a good debate. Consequently, a new section 106 was inserted in the Bill on Report Stage. This new section stipulates that a report be published within 12 months of the Bill being enacted. This was accepted by all parties and was viewed as a pragmatic way to advance the project while allowing time for the necessary work to take place in the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, in co-operation with my Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The House can rest assured that both Departments are actively engaged in advancing the proposal, and the report will be prepared within 12 months, as specified in the Bill.
I see the merits in the proposal and I agree that we need to be mindful of preserving our national memory. It is important, however, that we do not put the cart before the horse and that we allow the requisite work be undertaken in order that the capturing of any information is done properly, with which I am sure everyone would agree, without undue burden on the public purse, while ensuring that there are mechanisms in place to properly protect and regulate personal information which people have put on the web. I ask the House to allow this process to take place with both Departments, and the report will be prepared within 12 months, as specified in the Bill and as I have insisted. Again, it is important that what we do we do correctly. We are engaging with the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, who is responsible for policy in that area. I urge the Senators to leave this as it is, as the Deputies have done. Of course, I invite the Senators, if they wish, to meet any representatives from my Department or the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and I would be delighted to facilitate such a meeting. I am advised that it is the responsibility of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, but we are working in collaboration to ensure everything is done precisely in order that whatever is done is done right.
I urge the Senator not to press this amendment. There is goodwill from both Departments to ensure any aspects the Senators might be worried about will be dealt with.
I was in the committee rooms before I came here. The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht was also there. It seems the buck is being passed between the two Departments, and I cannot identify who has responsibility for this issue. The consultation was published in April 2017 and the copyright review committee has called for this since 2013. It is not difficult to sweep and the National Library of Ireland already has the ability to do it.
To clarify, Senator Norris asked about the new paragraph (c)(i), proposed in the amendment, which states that a work would be made available to the public either from a website with a domain name which relates to the State, that is, a .ie domain name, or which relates to a place within the State, such as a .org or a .com domain name. My website is a .com website even though it is Irish. Therefore, it might not necessarily have to be a .ie domain name.
I thank the Senator.
The Senator is welcome. I would be disappointed to withdraw this amendment.
The Senator can table it again on Report Stage if he wishes.
Yes, but the Fianna Fáil amendment has delayed it for two years. How long does the Minister of State expect the feasibility study to take?
I can only say it as I see it and as I have been informed, and I have been in discussion with both Departments. I reiterate that my Department and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht have already been actively working together on this issue for some time. I can only give my word without passing the buck on this. We want a robust regulatory framework put in place. I assure the Senator, as I have assured Deputies, that this is already happening. The Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has direct responsibility for the National Library, and the policy includes funding and governance. We have no alternative but to liaise with that Department. We will make a copyright amendment when needed.
I understand where the Senator is coming from but it is obligatory for us to co-operate with that Department. The Minister has direct responsibility for the National Library of Ireland and its policy, which includes governance and funding, as I mentioned. I know from speaking with my officials we are already doing that and over the past number of months both Departments have been engaging.
There is no problem with giving regular updates to the Senator and it is not just a question of me leaving the Chamber, saying thanks and that in 12 months everything will be sorted.
There could be an election.
Do not say that yet. I do not give instructions but I have advised both Departments that they should formulate a comprehensive plan on what needs to be done. It may very well happen before those 12 months are up. I ask the Senators to bear with us on this as we are all in unison. I can see where they are coming from on the matter. I have no choice but to liaise with that Department for the time being.
I have not contributed on this amendment before but it seems, listening to the debate, that Senator Warfield was raising a matter that deserves serious consideration in the course of the debate on this Bill. The Minister of State is saying that until the feasibility study concludes, he cannot engage in any other way of dealing with the matter through this Bill. It seems a pity, given that we said earlier that we would be delighted to meet the Minister of State and his officials to discuss the matters in the other amendments. Is it possible to include in the meeting a discussion of the matter in Senator Warfield's amendment, even if a study is ongoing?
There is no question of non-engagement. Of course we are willing to engage on that matter. I am saying I am obliged to follow this advice I have been given, particularly when there is a crossover between both Departments. There is certainly no question but that we will engage.
I thank the Minister of State and we might endeavour to have the meeting before Report Stage. I do not know what the timeframe is for Report Stage.
There is no problem with that.
The feasibility study that has suddenly become the main part of this debate was only included by Fianna Fáil in the Dáil as a result of the legislation entirely ignoring the digital deposit. The legislation deals with ebooks. I would not be doing my job as someone who holds the Government to account if I did not take into account the 90% of the people who came to the Department calling for this legal deposit. That includes all libraries, including Trinity, the National Library of Ireland and so on. If we called a vote on this, it would only help focus minds.
- Bacik, Ivana.
- Black, Frances.
- Boyhan, Victor.
- Clifford-Lee, Lorraine.
- Conway-Walsh, Rose.
- Daly, Paul.
- Devine, Máire.
- Gavan, Paul.
- Horkan, Gerry.
- Humphreys, Kevin.
- Mac Lochlainn, Pádraig.
- Norris, David.
- O'Sullivan, Grace.
- Ó Céidigh, Pádraig.
- Ó Donnghaile, Niall.
- Ó Ríordáin, Aodhán.
- Ruane, Lynn.
- Warfield, Fintan.
- Wilson, Diarmuid.
- Burke, Colm.
- Burke, Paddy.
- Butler, Ray.
- Coffey, Paudie.
- Coghlan, Paul.
- Conway, Martin.
- Feighan, Frank.
- Hopkins, Maura.
- Lawlor, Anthony.
- Lombard, Tim.
- McFadden, Gabrielle.
- Mulherin, Michelle.
- Noone, Catherine.
- O'Donnell, Kieran.
- O'Mahony, John.
- Reilly, James.
- Richmond, Neale.