Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Don’t they know who’s boss?

Little 'ol Ireland, darling of the Europhile classes, is in trouble with its masters over in Brussels for quite deliberately ignoring an EU directive.

The law in question is Council Directive 92/100/EEC of 19 November 1992 on "rental right and lending rights and on certain rights related to copyright in the field of intellectual property".

It was introduced to harmonise the lending of works by public institutions such as libraries and universities. Because book borrowing may lessen the demand for buying certain works, the directive gave authors the right to forbid the public lending of their work.

Member-states had the option of establishing a right for authors to be paid when their works were lent by public libraries and they also had the right to exempt certain categories of libraries from making this payment.

However, the EU commission found that Ireland, contrary to the terms of the directive, had exempted all public lending institutions from the charge. Just before Christmas, therefore, it announced that it was referring Ireland to the ECJ

Interestingly, a spokeswoman for the Irish Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment pointed out that the decision to exempt all Irish libraries was a deliberate one, on the basis that the Irish lending pool was very small and the State had a policy of making cultural information available to the public.

What is the trouble with these people. Directives are not optional – they are there to be obeyed. After all this time, don't the Irish know who's boss?

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