Supping the waters of Liffey

IRELAND'S government in March published proposals to change copyright law - and, even more so than those under consultation in the UK, these appear designed largely to serve the interests of Google. Like the UK, Ireland proposes to legalise "private copying" (good) but without the "fair compensation" demanded by EU law (bad).

The Irish government recognises that it cannot bring in so-called "fair use", the vague US legal doctrine much beloved of Google because it means anyone objecting to copying of their work has to raise hundreds of thousands, or more, to get a court to decide whether the use is in fact "fair" (see "Prof vs prof").

So it proposes making Ireland's law just a bit vaguer, and lobbying to change European law. Both the NUJ and the European Federation of Journalists are responding to the proposal, the latter pointing out that its claim to promote "innovation" is meaningless without support for those who actually innovate - such as journalists - over those who would organise all the world's information without asking and sell ads alongside it. Look out for the responses at

Last modified: 06 Jun 2012 - © 2012 contributors
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