Link without fear – Copyright in Ireland in a Digital Age

The main report from the Copyright Review Committee has been released. Read the full PDF of it here.

The whole thing is worth a few reads. Well done to Patricia McGovern, Eoin O’Dell and Steve Hedley for writing something readable by practitioners and the general public too. Irish copyright Law hasn’t moved with the times but this report moves it into the 21st century and will ensure it is a little bit future proofed.

Lots of good recommendations but the main ones for me are:

  • Linking is ok.
  • Photos: Nicking and modifying them (including Metadata) is bad
  • DRM: DRM is fine but shitty DRM is not fine and a user has a right to not be hampered
  • Marshalling should be allowed to some degree.
  • Orphaned Works are being recognised.
  • Fair Use will come to pass.
  • Data mining is fine too.
  • Recognition of the multiple media devices every person/family has.

Linking
Says they:

Interconnectedness by linking is at the very heart of the internet. However, links simply convey that something exists; but they do not, by themselves, publish, reproduce or communicate its content.

The group recommends that it should not be an infringement of copyright to reproduce a very small snippet of the linked work reasonably adjacent to the link. Snippet = no more than either 160 characters or 2.5% of the work, subject to a cap of 40 words.

However if you link to something that infringes copyright and you do this knowingly then you can be seen as an infringer. Exceptions for education will already apply and here too for news/media types who are doing reporting and point out bad behaviour.

If a news site wishes to expose sites that stream pirated films or music, it would be unworkable if it could not say where those sites are, and the “public interest exception” would allow the news site to do so without fear of infringing
copyright.

(My reading of this is as a news org you can basically make yourself a directory of pirate movies/software?)

Photos
More protection for photographers. Encouragement of using metadata and someone that messed with the metadata is seen as an infringer.

we recommend not only that copyright protection be extended to metadata, but also that its removal should amount to an infringement of copyright

DRM
They have nothing against DRM however if it’s shitty DRM, they are forgiving of someone that breaks it to be able to do what they have a right to do with it (Listen on other devices, different device etc.)

we also recommend that users should have an effective remedy where the technological protection measures prevent a user from performing an exception permitted by the legislation

Orphaned Works
When you don’t know who owns a work and you want to repurpose it or remix it or use swathes of it. Up to now you had to find the person who owned the rights, if you didn’t then you had to hold off doing anything. Limbo. Instead now:

Any person seeking to make use of an orphan work, where the rightsowner genuinely cannot be identified or located, will have to seek a licence from the Agency subject to a fee to be paid to the Agency to be paid on to any rightsowner who is subsequently identified or located.

Marshalling
Marshalling is: indexing, syndication, aggregation, and curation of online content. For me this covers sites that aggregate news or basically rewrite copy from news sites like the Irish Times/Indo. You can in essence now reproduce 160 characters or 40 or words less. This may spell some trouble for some organisations.

Caricature, Parody, Pastiche, and Satire
All allowed. Game on.

Data Mining is go.

very significant social benefits stand to be gained from content-mining, and in particular to be gained from a copyright exemption in favour of content-mining for non-commercial research.

Fair Use
I like this :

On the advantages and disadvantages of fair use, there was a great deal of anecdote, but not much by way of determinative evidence.

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3 Responses to “Link without fear – Copyright in Ireland in a Digital Age”

  1. [...] of the Copyright Review Committee (pdfs: via this site; via the DJEI site) (see Irish Times | Damien Mulley | [...]

  2. Justin Mason says:

    Fantastic stuff. Here’s hoping it gets acted on, now.

  3. [...] Link without fear – Copyright in Ireland in a Digital Age [...]