Friday 20 April 2018

Row looms over copyright law changes

Roisin Burke

MUSIC, film and publishing lobby groups are gearing up for a row with the Government following the quiet appearance of a report proposing major changes to copyright law just after the October bank holiday weekend.

A key concern is that it may excessively favour tech giants such as Google.

It recommends a much freer US 'fair-use' system, which could radically extend free use of film, newspaper, magazine and book content.

"Primarily it's being driven by technology companies like Google, who are quite upfront about wanting change on this," said Samantha Holman of the Irish Copyright Licensing Agency. "Relaxation of intellectual property rights would also suit companies like Amazon, Facebook and Apple."

The Report of the Copyright Review Committee was commissioned by Minister of State for Research and Innovation Sean Sherlock.

There has been law change in Britain, which Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed, saying that Google could never have been founded in Britain because copyright law was too restrictive.

"There will be blood on the floor," a music industry source said of a planned meeting this week of music, film and publishing interests to discuss the report. "There is huge anger throughout the music industry about this," the source added.

"Would Google favour a relaxation of intellectual property law around its algorithm IP with the same enthusiasm?" Holman asked.

Frank Cullen, of the National Newspapers of Ireland body, said it was also concerned about aspects of the report.

"We've nothing against tech companies, but some of them are running off with our lunch," he said. "We are really concerned about the brief that was given to this report."

Sunday Independent

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