Bi-monthly report on copyright reform in Poland-August and September 2013

Below we are publishing a joint, bi-monthly overview of the key developments in copyright reform in Poland-August and September 2013. The project is conducted with the support of Open Society Foundations. Most of the links lead to content in Polish.
1. Association of Authors ZAiKS, one of the biggest polish collecting societies, has prepared a proposal for an amendment of the copyright law that would introduce new privat copying levies on purchases electronic devices such as cameras, computers and smartphones. The proposed law is expected to increase both the number of devices covered by the levy and the charged amount. The levy is being proposed at the level of 1-3 percent of the price of the device. According to the estimates of the electronic equipment industry, the amount collected by collecting societies each year will increase from about 27 to 320 million zł, if the law is passed. Collecting socities explain that the changes are necessary because the charges in Poland are still lower than in Western Europe, which limits the possibility of equitable compensation for the authors and publishers of losses caused by piracy.

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2. In reaction to this proposal, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage issued a statement that consultations are underway on the possible removal, from the list of items on which levies are charged, of technologies that are almost non-existent on the market (mainly analogue – such as the tape recorder, VCR, or tape cassette).In their place, digital devices that are currently being used to download content for private use would be introduced. According to Ministry, no ammendments will be made as long as there is no agreement between collecting societies and electronic equipment industry. The Ministry added that fees are the compensation of the losses incurred by the creators, performers, producers and publishers as a result of legal copying of works under exceptions and limitations of copyright law. Therefore, it is incorrect, according to the Ministry, to link these fees with piracy – illegal copying of protected works.
3. According to the judgement of the polish court of appeals, collecting societies must be able to substantiate that there may be an infringement of copyrights before they can claim the information intended for the accrual of royalties. In this case, one of the Polish collecting societies found out that an enterpreneur has organized 27 events and have demanded information about repertoire and contracts with artists. When they received a negative response, the organization took the opportunity to obtain a court order to disclose the information.
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4. A relatively small copyright infringement cannot justify the closure of the workplace – ruled Court of Appeal. The Court has refused to impound hardware of a company responsible for copyright infringement, because this would mean stopping activities of the company.

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5. At the end of September, the Ministry presented a report that it commissioned, titled “How copyright affects the music market on the net?” (Jak prawo autorskie wpływa na rynek muzyczny w sieci?). The report presents the current state and prospects for the development of the digital music market in Poland. The potential of the Polish market is demonstrated by significant increases in sales of digital formats in the last few years. Currently it is estimated that the value of the Polish music market puts Poland in the 20th position in the world ranking.

6. The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage has published results of a public consultation on the adjustment of the Law on Copyright and Related Rights necessary to properly implement the provisions of Satellite  broadcasting and Cable retransmission Directive.

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