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News & Events

Authors, performers, creators to be given more rights over their work when shared online

  • Government transposes EU Copyright Directive into law

  • Online service providers will have to negotiate agreements with media organisations to allow sharing of articles

The Government has transposed the EU’s Copyright Directive into Irish law, which will update Irish copyright law, to make it fit for purpose in a digital age.

The new law will strengthen the rights and protections afforded to various categories of copyright holders, including journalists and authors, when their work is shared online. It will also provide for wider access and use of copyright protected works for the benefit of a broad range of stakeholders, including the creative sectors, press publishers, researchers, educators, cultural heritage institutions, and citizens.

The Tánaiste said:

“Like many aspects of society, the internet has utterly changed the way in which we create, read and watch the news, books, music, TV and films. The law needs to catch up with this change, and ensure that the rights of our creators, writers, journalists and performers are upheld when it comes to their work being shared online.

“This is part of a broader discussion we are having on the future of media. The Future of Media Commission’s report on how to overcome the challenges faced by public service broadcasters, commercial broadcasters, print and online media platforms has recently been submitted and Government will be acting on this shortly.

“In the meantime, we are moving to transpose this Directive, which will update our copyright law. From now on in Ireland, press publishers such as newspapers have a new legal right in relation to the use of their content by online service providers. In the absence of an agreement with publishers, online platforms will not be permitted to make use of their work, though they will continue to be able to use hyperlinks or very short extracts.

“It will be up to the publisher and the online provider to negotiate an agreement. People want to keep getting their news from social media so there is a clear, mutual benefit for both parties in reaching these agreements.”

The new law also strengthens the position of authors and performers when making an agreement to transfer the rights of their work by requiring the following principles to be followed in making such an agreement:

  • A right to appropriate and proportionate remuneration
  • A 'transparency obligation' to help them access more information about how their work is being used;
  • A 'contract adjustment mechanism' to enable them to obtain a fair share when the remuneration originally agreed becomes disproportionately low compared to the success of their work or performance;
  • A 'right of revocation' allowing them to take back their rights when their works are not being used.

Minister English said:

“The transposition of the Directive into Irish law by the Tánaiste is a positive move which will bring about certainty and protection for individuals and businesses whose copyrighted content is increasingly showcased and accessed online.

“As society continues to transition on a greater digital journey, it is important that the impact of technological advances and increased digitalisation will be fair and balanced for all those copyright holders, publishers and platforms involved in making available original and creative works across Ireland”.

The Tánaiste said:

“Consumers shouldn’t see any difference in the way they see articles appear on their feed. You will continue to be able to share content on social media and link to websites and newspapers via hyperlinks.”

The new law also provides for important exceptions to allow for copyright-protected material online and across borders for education, research and preservation of cultural heritage purposes.

For example, the Regulations clarify the responsibilities of cultural heritage institutions such as museums when dealing with copyright protected works that are no longer available commercially, in order to continue to make them available to the public and for their preservation.

Taken together, the new law should play a small part in helping to ensure the sustainability of journalism and the broader arts and creative sector.

The Tánaiste said:

“I believe in a diverse, plural and independent media which informs and challenges us, while upholding high standards of accuracy, proportionality and impartiality.

“We look forward to acting on the recommendations from the Future of Media Commission. I hope that the transposition of this Directive and the updating of our copyright laws is a useful and positive first step.”