Last week, the Copyright Review Committee (the Committee) published its long-awaited report aimed at reducing barriers to innovation in the digital environment. The Committee was set up in 2011 and tasked with the job of developing proposals for legislative reform in the contentious area of copyright law. 

Key recommendations of the report include:

  • The establishment of an independent and broadly-based Copyright Council, analogous in some respects to the Press Council.
  • Introduction of specialist intellectual property tracks in the District and Circuit Courts, together with an increased monetary limit for intellectual property claims in the Circuit Court
  • Improving the position of copyright users by introducing the full range of exceptions permitted by EU law, including format-shifting, parody, education, disability, and heritage as well as related exemptions for non-commercial user-generated content and content mining
  • The introduction of limited copyright exceptions for innovation and fair use. The Committee has recommended that the innovation exception should provide that it would not be an infringement of copyright to derive an original work which either substantially differs from, or substantially transforms, the initial work. A "specifically Irish" version of fair use is also envisaged by the report. This version of fair use will not go as far as "the US style ‘fair use’ doctrine" but will give the courts greater flexibility in certain limited circumstances]
  • Establishment of a voluntary Digital Copyright Exchange aimed at providing a mechanism to expand and simplify the collective administration of copyright.

Full text of the report can be found here.