|St Columba started the trend, daringly copying a restricted-|
access public domain work. If he lived today, would he be
the patron saint of Google Book and Wikileaks?
"This is a welcome development for the Irish internet industry, which has argued for some time that copyright reform would be desirable. It follows a seminar last month, hosted by Digital Rights Ireland, Google and the Institute of International and European Affairs, where speakers from businesses such as Boards.ie, UPC and Google pointed out the practical problems copyright laws can create.The IPKat thinks that the timing of this review is brilliant. Since Ireland's copyright laws so closely resemble those of the UK, both pro- and anti-copyright lobbyists can use the same submissions twice over, so long as they remember to get the name of the right country at the top. Merpel says, I'm just trying to imagine where Google would be today if it hadn't been restricted by all these tiresomely old-fashioned copyright laws in countries like the UK and Ireland; it would probably be quite a big business now, not just a little hole-in-the-corner search engine ...
In particular, one of the reasons why the US has been so successful at encouraging internet innovation is that US copyright law includes a doctrine known as fair use. This permits the use of portions of a copyrighted work so long as the normal economic exploitation of the work is not undermined.
Irish law, by comparison, has no equivalent to the flexible doctrine of fair use. Instead, there is a finite and restrictive list of exceptions to copyright, hampering the ability of Irish businesses to develop new forms of internet services.
Reform of the law – if it addresses this and similar issues – will help promote the growth of new businesses in this area and avoid the loss of jobs to more internet-friendly jurisdictions, such as the US.
However, this is not a uniquely Irish development. It follows action at European Union level and in other countries such as Britain. Last month, David Cameron said UK copyright laws were out of date and needed to be reviewed to “make them fit for the internet age”.
The Irish Government will have to move quickly to avoid falling behind Britain and other European bodies that have taken the initiative in this area.... [the article then discusses the need to reexamine online rules for defamation]".
Irish Patents Office web page -- which at the time of posting of this item has no details of the review -- here
Thanks to Deirdre Kilroy (LK Shields) for the link!