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Copyright law to embrace digital age

A SPECIAL committee should be set up to maintain copyright law, and reasonable "linking" to articles online will not be illegal if proposed changes to copyright law go through.

A report by the government-appointed "Copyright Review Committee" was published yesterday, and contains a series of recommendations to adapt the law for the digital age.

The committee, which was made up of academics and other copyright experts including lawyers, calls for the creation of a Copyright Council of Ireland, as an "independent self-funding organisation", that will protect copyright as well as "encouraging innovation".


The report also recommends that intellectual property claims can be heard by the small claims court providing the claim being demanded is below the standard district court level.

A specialist intellectual property court should also be established in the Circuit Court.

Importantly, the committee recommends that linking online "should not infringe copyright, except where the provider of the link knew or ought to have been aware that it connects with an infringing copy".

If the committee's plans become law, then using small "snippets" of pieces from elsewhere will be allowed, providing that the excerpt is not more than 160 characters or 2.5pc of the piece.

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