Three Fianna Fáil senators introduced a private member’s bill to the Irish parliament intended to restore the state’s copyright to Ireland’s national anthemA Soldiers’ Song was composed in 1907, with words by Peadar Kearney and music by Kearney and Patrick Heeney. The song was adopted as the national anthem in 1926 and was protected under government owned copyright until the end of 2012, 70 years after the writer’s death.
Since then the anthem has not been under any copyright and Fianna Fáil Senator Mark Daly feels this needs to be rectified, saying:
Having copyright in place is the only way that we can protect our national anthem from being used in an inappropriate manner.
For example, the opening line of the national anthem was used on a range of Dunnes Stores clothing designed by former Kerry footballer Paul Galvin. Senator Daly has said that such commercial use was inappropriate .
The legislation suggest that the copyright can somehow be renewed but opponents point out that copyright is not meant to be a form of censorship. UCD law professor Eoin O’Dell said:
The function of copyright is to incentivise the production of cultural value and to reward the production of cultural value so that we all get the benefit of the things that are produced by the authors, poets and musicians, and then when it falls out of copyright we can all use it.
And the second thing is that, it’s not just attempting to legislate respect by means of copyright, he’s actually trying censorship by means of copyright, which is not what copyright is about.