Copyright law, the allowed personal use

October 29th, 2007, Tomasz Rychlicki

In a short press release published on 26 October 2007 in “Czas Świecia” (regional supplement to Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper) Marek Rydzewski, the spokesperson for Regional Police Headquater in Świecie, issued a statement while answering to a student’s question about legality and responsibility for photocopying books:

– Copying whole textbooks without a permission from persons who have rights to such work (usually those are authors or publishes) is prohibited.

False. I do not want to educate Polish Police but I think I owe my English readers short explanation about Polish copyright (I think the proper term should be Author’s right since Civil law system differs a lot from English and US approach).

Some voices appears that there are legal grounds to introduce restrictions of maximum amount of pages to be allowed to photocopy from one book (…). It seems that such statements are not justifiable. Rules established in art. 23 of the Act of Authors rights. (…) did not introduce any limits for the amount of photocopied text.

J. Barta, R. Markiewicz, Prawo autorskie i prawa pokrewne, Zakamycze 2004, p. 67.
Additionally, Mr Marek Rydzewski said that:

Also, the law does not allow for downloading books in electronic form from the Internet, except for those which are made available for such actions.

False. There is no rule in Polish law that “prohibits” downloading books from the Internet! For all of you who are interested in the original text of this short article here is a scanned file, JPG, 675 KB. I’ll see if they publish corrections. In passing I would like to write my short statement. Myabe it will sound strange for You but I think that photocopying a full book “kills” it somehow.