Statement on Behalf of National Newspapers of Ireland

National Newspapers of Ireland (NNI) welcomes the report of the Copyright Review Committee (“the Committee”) published today and in particular welcomes the opportunity to further debate the important issue of copyright protection.

NNI is pleased that the Committee has recognised the contribution of newspapers and other content-creators as part of Ireland’s digital economy. The newspaper industry is itself an innovator, leading the way in providing products and services across a range of digital platforms.

NNI is also, however, concerned by a number of the Committee’s recommendations, particularly the introduction of various exceptions to existing copyright law.  The cumulative effect of those new exceptions (such as proposed exceptions for “innovation”, “fair use”, “marshalling” and a specific exception relating to news content) will greatly limit the ability of newspapers to prevent others from commercially exploiting their content without permission or fair remuneration.

Original newspaper content is designed to inform the public on matters of public interest and concern. The creation of this content requires significant expenditure and investment by publishers – our members invest hundreds of millions of euro annually in the creation of high quality content for our readers. Robust copyright protection will help guarantee this investment into the future.  Any watering down of copyright protection could have undesirable and perhaps unforeseen consequences, such as jeopardising investment in content creation which, in turn, would threaten press freedom and media pluralism. This clearly would not serve the public interest.

It is disappointing that the Committee did not take the opportunity to make recommendations that would limit the extent to which unlawful aggregation and electronic distribution of newspaper content (and the content of other publishers) occurs.

The Committee has taken more than two years to publish its report and it is clear that some time will be needed to consider and debate its recommendations. It is also clear that Ireland should participate in the ongoing debate on copyright issues that is taking place at European level, and observe developments in the European context.

NNI remains committed, in that debate, to promoting copyright law that protects original newspaper content from commercial exploitation by others without permission, and to protecting the thousands of jobs in Ireland in the newspaper industry which are dependent on the value of its content.

NNI in context

NNI represents 16 national daily, Sunday and weekly and 25 local and regional newsbrands. On an average day (Mon-Sat) almost 3 million people in Ireland read a national newspaper in print and/or online. On Sundays, 2.2m adults or 60 per cent of the adult population either pick up a paper or read at least one of Ireland’s national newspapers online. In addition, 1.3m adults read regional newspapers. In total, 84 per cent of the adult population in Ireland read newspapers regularly.

In recent years, newspaper publishers have invested heavily and created many new jobs in digital publishing. Today, NNI publishers operate their newspaper brands online and manage additional digital businesses for special interests like property and recruitment.

Thanks to a very strong interest in newspaper content, over 300 million newspapers are sold annually in Ireland. Their production, distribution and sale together provide thousands of jobs and millions of euro in direct and indirect tax revenue for the country. Some 4,000 people are employed directly by the newspaper industry in Ireland with many more part-time and spin-off jobs supported by the industry in related sectors such as advertising, PR, distribution, media monitoring and printing.

NNI newspapers alone account for €700m in turnover and an annual payment to the Exchequer of €100m in taxes.

For further information: Ann Marie Lenihan 01 668 9099