An expert in intellectual property (IP) law has said that an EU Directive on copyright will have significant benefits for Ireland’s creative talent.
The IMRO Adjunct Professor of Intellectual Property Law at the Law Society, Dr Mark Hyland, was speaking ahead of World Intellectual Property Day 2021 which fell on 26 April.
Dr Hyland highlighted in particular article 17 of Directive (EU) 2019/790 on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, which he said would address the ‘value gap’ — the “funnelling away” of value from creators and into the hands of a number of online content-sharing platforms.
“Article 17 requires online platforms such as YouTube to obtain an authorisation from the relevant rights-holder before copyrighted content, such as music or movies, is made available to the public,” he explained.
“While article 17 has been much debated over the last few years, it helps to highlight the unfair and unreasonable balance between the online platform and the underlying rights-holder,” Dr Hyland said.
He said the directive was ensuring that creators received appropriate payment for the online use of their works.
“This will be significant for creators in Ireland’s music industry, particularly given the ongoing pandemic-related challenges facing this sector,” he said.
IP and the music industry
Dr Hyland said Ireland’s music creators saw a significant drop in public performance royalties last year due to COVID-19 restrictions. It was, however, a strong year for online music, thanks to the increasing popularity of video on-demand services and live-streamed events.
“The directive will have huge benefits for creativity in our fast-evolving digital age,” said Dr Hyland.
“It will help promote the creative and cultural industries, major drivers of Ireland and Europe’s economy, and promote creators’ rights throughout the EU.”
He pointed out that IP-intensive industries contribute 65% to Ireland’s GDP, which is the largest proportion of any EU member state.
“A strong and effective IP system helps countries to realise IP’s potential for economic development, and social and cultural wellbeing. Such a system ensures economic rewards for creators, and provides an environment in which creativity and innovation are encouraged,” Dr Hyland said.
EU members must implement the copyright rules into their national laws by 7 June.
“The last important revamp of EU copyright laws occurred 20 years ago, with the adoption of the Information Society Directive in 2001, so this is another significant step in the modernisation of the EU copyright regime,” said Dr Hyland.
IMRO and the Law Society of Ireland partnered to create the professorship held by Dr Hyland in response to the fast-changing digital landscape and its continuing effects on copyright law and practice.