Ireland consults on copyright term for industrial works

Under normal circumstances copyright protection lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years, this term of protection is harmonized in Europe by the Term Directive (2006/116/EC).

In some member states there are or were legacy rules for copyright in registered designs and for artistic works exploited by an industrial process. In Ireland such works have a shorter 25 year span of protection which starts on the date of application for an industrial design or the date of first marketing of the artistic work.

In 2011 in a case concerning copyright in the classic Italian Arco floor lamp, the CJEU said that it was impermissible under EU law to provide for a term of copyright less than the life of the author plus 70 years. Ireland now wishes to bring its copyright term for industrial designs into line with EU law and is proposing a transition period after which such copyrights will benefit from the longer span of protection.

This seems like good news for creators but bad news for imitators.

The consultation was launched yesterday and according to the Department of Jobs Enterprise and innovation:

This consultation is aimed at gathering stakeholder views with regard to the potential impacts on sectors of the Irish economy of extending the period of copyright to that period of life of the creator plus 70 years. The Government is seeking views as to which sectors would be affected and how. Views are also sought with regard to the length of the transitional time period. This would include the time required to change the behaviour on the part of those whose actions would infringe the copyright of others with the amendment of the Copyright and Related Rights Bill. This transitional period is also to give manufacturers of replicas time to dispose of or sell off their stock. We are also seeking views on the impact on rightsowners, the owners of artistic works and the industry generally.

The Department is interested in hearing from interested parties and in particular in relation to:

  1. Will the proposed amendment potentially impact in a positive or a negative manner on businesses?
  2. Would a short transition period before the amendment comes into force be the most appropriate and efficient?

For more information and a short discussion paper the consultation page. Interest parties have until Thursday 22 September 2016 to make there views known.

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