Understanding copyright

Copyright is a legal protection afforded to the creators of original works. It gives them the right to call their work their own, to benefit financially from their work and to control how their work is used.

Copyright protection is provided to a wide range of original works such as artwork, music, film, photography, computer software and literary works – including newspaper and magazine content.

Copyright is a key incentive to creation and innovation. Without copyright protection, and the legal frameworks that give it substance, intellectual property would eventually stop being created – to the detriment of society.

NLI and copyright

NLI aims to ensure a fair remuneration for those who have invested in the generation of original news content, i.e. the publisher, when that content is used by others.

By supporting publishers in this way, NLI plays a vital role in maintaining the value of their work and helping to sustain creativity. If publishers’ rights are not protected, the value of newspaper content, especially online, will diminish and publishers will eventually stop investing in original work.

Since its establishment, NLI has distributed circa €3 million back to publishers. This money has in turn been invested back in Ireland’s creative sectors, helping to support thousands of jobs and generating valuable tax income for the State.

Copyright in Ireland

The principal source of copyright law in Ireland is the Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000. There are also various amendments to the 2000 Act and a number of Statutory Instruments. Domestic copyright law is heavily influenced by European legislation such as the Copyright Directive 2001/29/EC.

In keeping with the Copyright & Related Rights Act 2000, and in the context of the NLI licence framework, the copyright in the article content of newspaper and magazines in held by the publishers, except where indicated to the contrary.

The Copyright & Related Rights Act 2000 also provides for Copyright Licensing Bodies, and Newspaper Licensing Ireland Limited is registered with the Controller of the Irish Patents Office on the Register of Copyright Licensing Bodies.

Online resources

More information and perspective on copyright can be found via the following links: