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Creative industries hit hard during lockdown

24 Apr 2020 / IP Print

Legal protection crucial as live performances axed

World Intellectual Property Day 2020 will be marked this Sunday, 26 April, in Ireland and globally.

IMRO Adjunct Professor of Intellectual Property Law at the Law Society Dr Mark Hyland has highlighted the importance of legally protecting creativity and innovation at all times, but particularly now during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr Hyland said that the music and arts sectors were providing a vital ray of hope in the crisis but the creative industries were being badly hit by the lockdown.


Dr Hyland said: “Without the ability to perform in public, record in studios, take part in music and arts festivals, or hold exhibitions, musicians and artists generally have suffered a major financial blow. 

“It is vital that the IP in their works be recognised and protected, now more than ever.”

He added: “The current precarious situation for musicians and artists also makes the speedy implementation of the new Copyright Directive by our government all the more important.

“This Directive addresses the ’value gap’, whereby rights-holders are receiving less remuneration despite increased usage of their works, particularly online, in recent years.”

Importance of IP rights

The term “intellectual property” (IP) refers to creations of the mind, such as inventions, literary and artistic works, designs, and symbols, names and images used in commerce. Intellectual property rights (IPRs) are the legal rights given to persons over the creations of their minds.


The main IPRs are patents, trademarks, copyright and designs.

These important rights protect such things as music, literary works, software, inventions, distinctive words or symbols and the visual design of objects. IPRs usually give the creators exclusive rights over the use of their creations for a certain period of time.

“World IP Day provides us with an opportunity to recognise and highlight the importance of IPRs and the key role they play in encouraging innovation and creativity throughout the world in the twenty-first century,” Dr Hyland said. 

Economic contribution

IMRO-commissioned research shows that the music industry alone contributes more than €700 million annually to the Irish economy and employs approximately 13,000 people nationwide.

“More generally, according to a 2019 joint report by the EU Intellectual Property Office and the European Patent Office, IP-intensive industries contribute a very significant 65% to Ireland’s GDP.  This is the largest contribution among the 27 EU member states.”

“For a small, open, knowledge-based economy like Ireland, IP and the protection of IP are key elements of our economic success,” according to Dr Hyland.

IMRO and the Law Society announced the appointment of Dr Mark Hyland as the inaugural Adjunct Professor of Intellectual Property Law in June 2019.

Role created

IMRO and the Law Society partnered to create the role in response to the fast-changing digital landscape and the inevitable ongoing effects on copyright law and practice.

The professorship is a key resource to the Law Society in broadening the knowledge base of trainee and qualified solicitors in the expanding area of intellectual property law.

The expectation is that a solid grounding in this field of law will entice a new generation of lawyers into the music and entertainment industries.


Dr Hyland is a lecturer in the College of Business, Technological University Dublin.

His current research focuses on a number of themes: website-blocking injunctions in an IP context, the intersection between intellectual property and artificial intelligence, and how geo-location/geo-blocking technologies can be used to facilitate the territorial licensing of digital copyright works.

He is a qualified solicitor and contributes articles on EU IP/IT law developments to the Eurlegal section of the Law Society Gazette.

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