The Irish government is considering scrapping a controversial film-fair that has been a source of controversy in the country since it was created nearly 20 years ago.
The Irish Film Festival has been accused of taking advantage of an antiquated fair deal to make its films available for sale online for free.
Critics have said the festival has exploited a loophole in the Copyright Act to circumvent the system and profit from the public.
The film-festival was established in 1995 and has won plaudits for its fair use rights.
It is currently touring the United States, including a New York premiere on Wednesday.
Its chief executive, the actor Brendan O’Carroll, has said it is a non-profit organisation.
But the film-production company that runs the fair has been criticised for its alleged misuse of fair use.
The organisation has been hit with an EU investigation over alleged abuse of copyright laws, and it is seeking to recover costs incurred for its use of fair uses.
The Film Industry Association of Ireland (Fiai) has described the festival as a “pirate organisation” and said it was not responsible for its actions.
Its president, Peter Collins, said the film festival’s actions were “unethical”.
“Fiais management has been informed of the investigation into the fair use of the film, but no formal action has been taken,” he said.
He said it did not consider the festival a legitimate source of income.
“Fiac’s use of a fair deal for its films has been exploited to exploit the copyright law in Ireland,” he added.
“The Film Ireland Federation has been in constant communication with the Irish Film Federation for some time and is committed to a culture of fair play.”
The fair is held in February every year.
The festival has had a long and tumultuous history, with the festival being a key factor in the emergence of the genre of “horror cinema” in the late 1980s.
In 1991, the fair was banned for the first time after an investigation found it violated the fair dealing provisions of the Copyright Amendment Act.
A year later, the Fair Use Doctrine was introduced to give films the benefit of fair dealing and prevent it from being used to circumvent fair use rules.
In 2005, Fiai was accused of being an illegal organisation for its involvement in the festival, but it had appealed that decision.
Fiaoi also faced criticism for having a reputation for being involved in illegal practices such as selling off a portion of the festival for a profit.
“We have had some serious issues, but I think it’s all come to a head now,” Mr Collins said.
“The Irish film community has grown tremendously over the last 10 years.
It’s an important part of our culture.
We have a strong relationship with the community and we will continue to work with them.”
The film festival has been running in the US since 2001, but its main venues are in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Austin.
The Festival has sold tickets to events in several countries, including China, the Philippines, Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.
It has also been the site of major protests, including in the summer of 2017, when tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets in protest of its use as a staging ground for the 2016 Republican National Convention.
The organisers of the fair are not the only ones who have been hit by criticism for the use of copyright law.
In the wake of the Fair Usage Doctrine being introduced, several other countries have also been investigated over allegations of infringement of fair deal.
In 2015, a French court ruled that a festival in the French city of Lyon was liable for using copyright law to profit from a work they had bought.