Order may be used to secure anthem rights

 

A ministerial order may be used to renew the State’s copyright of the national anthem Amhrán na bhFiann, which expires at the end of December.

The Department of Finance holds the copyright of The Soldier’s Song, the lyrics of which were written by Peadar Kearney in 1907 and published in 1912. Mr Kearney died in November 1942 and according to the department, the copyright is due to expire this month.

A spokesman said the department would do whatever was necessary to maintain copyright. This follows concerns the anthem could be used or exploited through advertising, comedy or music, or for commercial gain.

Other national anthems have been adopted for comedy and in song. The anthem has already been interpreted on satirical programmes on RTÉ.

The song was adopted as the State’s national anthem in 1922. Concerns about the expiry of the copyright deadline were first raised in the Dáil in May 2011 by Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan told her in a written reply the principal reasons for “holding the copyright are to ensure that it is freely available, to prescribe that performance fees are not to be charged or collected in respect of the use of the national anthem, and to ensure that it is not used in an inappropriate context and without due deference, such as to render it an object of scorn or derision”.