Amendment of Law on Copyright and Related Rights

October 02, 2019

Amendment of Law on Copyright and Related Rights

October 02, 2019

Milan Samardžić

Milan Samardžić

Partner

On 17 September 2019 the National Assembly adopted Amendments to the Law on Copyright and Related Rights (‘’Official Gazette of RS’’ No. 66/2019 – hereinafter the “Copyright Act”). The provisions of the Copyright Act are applicable from 26 September 2019.

The Copyright Act harmonizes local legislation with several EU Directives regarding copyright and related rights. The amendments made broadly fall into three categories:

  • expanding upon or refining of rights of certain right-holders (e.g. interpreters, film producers, sound recording producers);
  • a restructuring of rules regarding organizations for collective protection of author rights;
  • litigation procedure rules allow for a broader scope of legal recourse for claimants and easier access to provisional measures before courts.

The Copyright Act introduces a block of changes which span from wording adjustments to recognizing entirely new rights for authors or holders of copyrights. Due to the scope of changes made, we provide a few highlights regarding changes made by the Copyright Act.

Expanding upon author rights

Copyright for musical works with lyrics now last 70 years after the death of the last composer or the author of the lyrics.

Interpreters of works recorded on sound and video carriers (e.g. actors) are entitled to a fee for broadcasting or rebroadcasting of these recording, as well as public emitting of their works from video and sound carriers.

The rules regarding software creating by an employee were made slightly more favorable for the employer’s side.

Film producers do not exhaust their right for interactive availability of a video recording, regardless of the manner in which they previously publicized it (via wire or wireless broadcasting).

Satellite broadcasting is introduced into the Copyright act.

Rules regarding software and data bases were harmonized with the wording of the EU directives regarding their fair use.

Changes regarding organizations for collective protection

The provision that prescribed distribution of 50% of collected fees for public playing of music works to the collective organization was rescinded.

Grounds for revoking of licenses for organizations for collective protection are clarified and made slightly stricter.

A deadline is introduced for payment of fees collected by the organizations for collective protection. However, the law provides exceptions under which the organization may exceed this deadline. The deadline is 31 December for all fees collected in the previous calendar year.

Changes to litigation rules

Litigation with regard to copyright and related rights are not deemed to be low-value disputes (spor male vrednosti) and the claimants may always file for revision procedure before the Supreme court of Cassation if there is a monetary claim.

The claimants are now expressly granted the possibility to claim non-material damages due to infringement of their rights.

Claimants can now file claims and requests for provisional measures not only for infringement of their rights but also if there is an existence of serious threat that such an infringement may occur.

More importantly, in warranted cases, the court may issue a provisional measure before the respondent provides his response to the motion for provisional measure.

The courts now have the authority to order copyright infringers, as well as other persons that are connected to infringers, to disclose information regarding persons that they cooperated with, their distribution channels, as well as any relevant documents in this regard.

Perhaps the most intriguing change of litigation rules is made regarding damages that can be claimed for instances of intentional infringement.

The previous rule of awarding up to threefold of the regular fee in case that a breach of right was committed with intent or gross negligence, was replaced with far more flexible wording and with the removal of the cap for the award allowing the court to award a lump sum (paušalna naknada) if the circumstances warrant such an action.

This means that in cases of flagrant breach of author or related rights the court could calculate the damages in a lump sum amount not lower than the customary fee the claimant could expect for the use of his right that was infringed.

It remains to be seen will the courts utilize this provision conservatively or creatively in order to set a new benchmark for intentional infringement of author rights.

This text is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice. Should you require any additional information, feel free to contact us.

Contact:

Milan Samardžić , Partner
milan.samardzic@sog.rs
+381 63 318 320

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