Written answers

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Department of Trade, Enterprise and Employment

Copyright Infringement

Photo of Niamh SmythNiamh Smyth (Cavan-Monaghan, Fianna Fail)
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33. To ask the Minister for Trade, Enterprise and Employment if the case of a person (details supplied) will be reviewed; if clarity will be provided on the matter regarding licence fees; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37153/20]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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In general, the playing of music in public places is an act governed by copyright law.  The Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000 (the CRRA) gives the owners of copyright works, which includes musical works, certain rights over the use of their works.  The legislation provides that users of musical works (such as broadcasters, owners of licensed premises, retails outlets and other places where music is publicly played) are required to pay for the use of copyrighted music. 

The CRRA also provides for copyright holders to enter into license agreements with Collective Management Organisations (CMOs) to represent their rights in relation to the public use of their copyright protected works.  These organisations are responsible for the collection of royalties from music users and for the distribution of these royalties to rightsholders. 

The Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) is a CMO that operates as a licensed body under the CRRA and represents the rights of its members (songwriters, composers and music publishers in Ireland).  Phonographic Performance Ireland (PPI) is a licensed CMO that represents the rights of record companies.  Playing of copyright protected music in public generally requires payment of royalty fees to both organisations.  

Under a ‘dual licensing’ system that came into effect in 2016, IMRO administers the granting of copyright music licences, collection of royalties, and related activities on behalf of both organisations.  The new arrangement enables businesses that play music publicly to obtain the appropriate copyright music licences by making a single payment. In the absence of a license from IMRO/PPI, the playing of copyright-protected music is not permitted. 

As Minister, I do not have any function in the setting of tariffs charged by organisations representing the rights of copyright holders.  However, it is open to a person affected by such charges to refer a dispute, under Section 152 of CRRA, to the Controller of Intellectual Property.

Further information on the role of the Controller of Intellectual Property and the options for referring disputes are available at www.ipoi.gov.ie.


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