Monthly report on copyright reform in Poland- January, 2013.

As part of our policy work on copyright reform in Poland (conducted with the support of Open Society Foundations), we will be publishing a monthly report on key developments in this policy area. Most of the links lead to content in Polish.

1. The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage has decided to set up the Copyright Forum – a platform for discussion on issues in area of copyright law and especially its reform. The representatives of communities of authors, creative industries, commercial users, chambers of commerce and NGOs dealing with issues of copyright are invited to participate in meetings. Following topics will be initially addressed: orphan works and works out-of-commerce, financing public domain, full implementation of Directive 2006/115/EC on public lending right, the scope of criminal liability in field of copyright and related rights and licensing in digital single market. The platform will also discuss issues related to the European stakeholder dialogue „Licences for Europe” and the Communication from European Commission on content in the digital single market (COM (2012) 789). The Forum is scheduled to start in March 2013.

Last summer, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage (responsible in Poland for copyright law) together with the Ministry of Administration and Digital Affairs conducted a series of workshops on copyright reform. The Forum initiaties anew debate on copyright reform after a long period of inactivity by the Ministry.


2. The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage has announced a public consultation on the Communication from European Commission on content in the digital single market (COM (2012) 789), which ended on the 8th of February. At the same time, representatives of Centrum Cyfrowe has been invited to participate in the „Licences for Europe” process on behalf of the European Association Communia. We are pleased to take part in this important event. Our representatives have joined Working Group 4 on text and data mining.


3. On the 31st of December the Ministry of Administration and Digitization has published a draft proposal (general assumptions and concepts) for the Bill on the openness of public resources and at the same time has launched a public consultation of the proposal (which ended on the 5th of February). The goal of the Bill is to create a unified, standard framework for managing the copyrights in public resources, in order to make them openly available and reusable. In this, it can be compared to similar frameworks, such as AUSGoal or NZGoal. If the rule of openness for public resources defined in this proposal is adopted, Poland will be among countries leading in the implementation of such solutions in the world. Centrum Cyfrowe has published its position as part of the consultations.

4. The Ministry of Education released an official guide and FAQ file on copyright in the context of projects funded from the Operational Programme  'Human Resources Development’ (PO KL) – a large public grantgiving program based on European funds. The guide includes the first official recommendation to use Creative Commons licenses in publicly funded projects. Importantly, the recommednation is based on a legal opinion prepared by professors Janusz Barta and Ryszard Markiewicz – leading experts in copyright law in Poland. The opinion states that Creative Commons Attribution license (in its 2.5 Poland version) complies with Polish copyright law and is an alternative to unilateral agreements.

5. The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage announced the need to establish a special court department for the consideration of general issues related to intellectual property rights (so-called Intellectual Property Court). In their opinion, it would help to harmonize the law in the field of IP and would provide for the inventors and creators legal security of their inventions and works.

6. The Ministry of Culture and National Heritage published the letter of twelve EU culture ministers sent to three Commissioners – Michel Barnier (internal market), Neelie Kroes (Digital Agenda) and Androulla Vassiliou (culture and education) on 28 November 2012, several days before European Commission’s meeting on copyright reform. Bogdan Zdrojewski, Polish Minister of Culture and National Heritage was among the signatories. In our opinion the letter presents a biased view of copyright as a tool that should serve foremostly the creators – and differs in this regard from the decision reached by the Commission, to work on creating a more balanced copyright system. Centrum Cyfrowe has published its opinion on the matter. 

7. The Ministry of Culture and Digital Heritage convened a meeting of the Group for the Prevention of Infringements of Copyright and Related Rights Law. The aim of the meeting was to initiate the preparation of a new strategy for copyright protection in the years 2013-2015. The main subject of disscussion was the previous strategy, published in 2008. Representatives of the collecting societies, associations of authors and holders of copyright were in favor of leaving the strategy in its previous form. The Ministry of Science and Eductation and the Ministry of Administration and Digitization opted for broadening the scope beyong enforcement and prevention, to include education or the issue of opening up public resources. It is worth noting that for the first time the history of the Group, non-governmental organisations took part in the meeting and were given observer status. In our opinion, if the strategy is drafted in its previous, narrow, „anti-piracy” scope, this will be a stepback with regard to the public debate on copyright conducted last year.

8. At the turn of the year, the Modern Poland Foundation has launched a social campaign ’The Right to Culture’. Its main goal is to enhance public awareness of freedoms under the copyright law. The message is carried by three simple statements which are consistent with the copyright law, but often wrongly seen as a violation:

I have the right to copy books.

I have the right to download films.

I have the right to share music.

The three sentences – in speech bubbles – have been placed on the Warsaw subway cars’ windows. They also point to the project website, where one can find detailed information explaining legal provisions of the Copyright Law in Poland.

9. On the 14th of January we launched our new research report, „Culture’s Secret Workers”. The report is based on a study of informal intermediaries in online circulations of culture: pirate archivists, rogue game server operators, subtitle translators. The study is a continuation of our previous research on informal media economy in Poland, presented in the report „Circulations of Culture. On Social Distribution of Content”. The report demonstrates dual nature of people, who can be seen either as „pirates” that commit copyright crimes, or as important nodes in the cultural ecosystem. The main question guiding the study was: ” Why are they doing it?”

10. Centrum Cyfrowe and The Poznań Library Foundation has published a summary of the report „The reform of copyright law for libraries” prepared by dr Krzysztof Siewicz and Barbara Szczepańska. The report was based on workshops and consultations with librarians which took place in the second half of 2012. It contains an overview of the most important issues associated with the current shape of copyright law in Poland as it applies to libraries and proposed solutions to existing problems.