In response to this story in the Irish Times (regarding the Fianna Fáil bill to return Ireland's National Anthem into copyright, also reported in the Journal.ie), I sent a letter "to the editor". Below is a marked-up version of the letter, showing the differences between what I sent and what was printed. Striken-through text was removed by the editor and UPPER-CASE TEXT WAS ADDED[See update 1 below].

A chara,

Copyright infringement happens when someone copies a work without the permission of the copyright holder. The correct use of Copyright theft is when there is a claim to a copyright where there is no entitlement to it. Plagiarism is an example of copyright theft. So, too, is putting under copyright a work that is already in the public domain.

Senator Mark Daly's attempt to steal REMOVE Amhrán na bhFiann from the public domain because he doesn't DOES NOT like how it was IS used BY SOME is an extremely A dangerous move ("STATE SHOULD HOLD COPYRIGHT TO NATIONAL ANTHEM, DALY SAYS", JANUARY 15TH). Kudos to his colleagues and the Department of Defence for not supporting it. The use of copyright in this way is itself inappropriate, and would present a precedent to those other copyright maximalists who seek to appropriate the public domain to themselves.

For as long and Ireland remains respectable, she and her national anthem will be respected by those for whom this is important. The public domain is already under a huge amount of pressure, so it's IT IS refreshing to see that it, too, has the respect of many in the Oireachtas.

I suggest Senator Daly uses a mechanism other than copyright theft to censor expression he doesn't approve of.

Is mise,

I'm sure the pragmatic reason of "space" is why the core emphasis of my correspondence was removed.

There's a lot more to be said about this. The long and the short of what Fianna Fáil and Senator Daly are trying to achieve can be described in one word:


Copyright has no business being used to stop someone from using a work in a way you don't approve of.

That's not what it's for.

Update 1

An earlier version of this post attempted to represent text added by the Irish Times in underline, using the current convention. That didn't work, so this update changed that to bold.

Update 2

My updated version didn't work, either, so I have updated it again.

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