Tucked into the Fine Gael manifesto were a couple of promises which affect journalists: a plan to pioneer US-style “fair use” in EU law, and a review of intellectual property (IP) law.
Fair use, Fine Gael says, will “allow internet companies and digital innovators to bring their services to market”. The IP update would give “clarity” to “on-line copyright infringement and the enforcement of rights relating to digital communications”.
Labour, meanwhile, proposed “the development of an International Content Services Centre” (ICSC) in Ireland, creating “a European hub for the dissemination of international property.”
Both these proposals made it into the programme for government.
“Fair use” reform, if it happens, will take place at EU level, and the EU is distracted by IMF bailouts at the moment, but the ICSC looks like a domestic proposal. Exactly what it is, I’m not too sure – the name echoes the IFSC, and I have visions of a tax-free server farm in the Dublin docklands.
The only IP legislation listed in planned legislation are amendment to the Patents Act and Trade Marks Act to ratify recent conventions, so maybe we’ll see something shoehorned in there.
All I can say is, watch this space.
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