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How is copyright enforced?

Copyright legislation differs from country to country but in Ireland it is governed by the Copyright and Related Rights Act 2000 (CRRA) and the related Regulations and Statutory Instruments. Ireland is also a signatory to international treaties such as World Intellectual Property Organisation (WiPO) Treaty and the Berne Convention, as well as relevant European legislation.

What does copyright apply to?

The Act states that copyright applies to

  • original literary, dramatic, musical or artistic works
  • sound recordings, films, broadcasts or cable programmes
  • typographical arrangement of published editions
  • original databases

Copyright does not apply to ideas or copies and should not be confused with patents (for inventions) and trademarks (symbols or words representing a company). Copyright only exists on tangible physical items. You can’t claim copyright on a performance but if that performance was recorded copyright would exist on the recording for both the performer and the person who recorded them. Within the Act this is known as a ‘fixation’.

How long does copyright last?

As a general rule copyright lasts 70 years from publication and 70 years from the death of the creator. However one item may have many layers of copyright and each layer must be taken into consideration. Take a singer who wrote a song and recorded it on a 78 rpm record in 1947. The copyright on the sound recording itself would expire 70 years later and the copyright on the song would last until 70 years after the singer died. Where there was more than one creator, for example on a film, the copyright lasts 70 years from the date of death of the last surviving creator.

What is Public Domain?

Once the copyright has expired on a creation it is considered in the public domain and can be freely re-used for any purpose. For example, a 78 rpm recording of a Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738) composition published more than 70 years ago would now be in the public domain.

Can I use the material available on the From the Bridge: A view of Irish music in New York microsite?

ITMA does not own the copyright on all the material that is on this microsite. The copyright status of any item is listed with the item’s metadata, and where the item is in the public domain this is clearly marked.

For any items that are in copyright ITMA contacted the copyright holder to get permission to make it available on the site. The items are all made available at low resolution, which means that while they may look and sound fine on a screen the quality of the digital file would not be good enough for any other type of reproduction. This is to safeguard the rights of the copyright holder.

If you would like to reproduce any of the material that is on the ITMA website please get in contact. We will put you in touch with the copyright holder so that you can get permission. Once permission has been acquired, or if the item is in the public domain, ITMA can supply you with high quality digital files (a small handling fee may apply).

Please read the ITMA Notice and Take Down Procedure if you believe that the ITMA website has, in any way, breached copyright.