Stakeholders asked to consider options for copyright reform

The committee responsible for teasing out whether the country’s copyright laws impede innovation, has asked stakeholders to consider a series of options for reforming the sector.

However, it said it needs more evidence-based arguments and fewer anecdotal accounts regarding the impact copyright rules have on different businesses.

Richard Bruton, the enterprise minister, has ordered the committee to find solutions to the debate on who owns certain material, and who should be legitimately allowed to use it.

Dr Eoin O’Dell, the committee’s chairperson, said the first round of consultation attracted 100 contributions. Most of these addressed the debate from each author’s particular perspective, rather than picking apart associated issues in the wider debate.

Dr O’Dell said the committee was anxious for the same parties to return to the committee with their opinions on 85 specific questions on the copyright issue.

“These are very specific questions looking for further information or advice on the issues raised.” he said.

However, he appealed for each party to give concrete examples rather than looser theories.

“The key thing is that we want evidence to back up the assertions. If people believe a certain provision will cause the sky to fall in, then please give us evidence to say how the sky will fall in,” he said.

In the consultation document, the committee said many aspects of copyright could be dealt with in a better fashion by way of a copyright council, rather than if the Government attempted to solve all of the problems in a catch-all law.

It also explored the option of a quicker and cheaper system to resolve copyright disputes.

The committee’s initial round of submissions, in 2011, acted as a sparring contest for the competing forces in the economic debate.

On the issue of news-paper content and the distribution of journalistic material for free, the views of internet entities such as Google, conflicted with the protection sought by the national, regional, and European newspaper organisations.

The committee has given all interested parties until Apr 13 to submit responses to its 85 questions and the text of a draft amendment to the existing copyright law.


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