Copyright law, case I CSK 617/12

July 5th, 2013, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Polish Collecting Society ZAiKS sued the publisher Bauer and demanded the disclosure of data on sale and number of issues of magazines such as “Twój Styl”, “Tina”, “Claudia” and “Świat Kobiety” which have attached DVDs with different movies. ZAiKS wanted to use this information to determine the amount of royalties that would be eligible for filmmakers (writers and performers of music, screenwriters, etc.) from the sale of movies, attached by the publisher to all those magazines. Bauer refused, saying that ZAiKS has not shown that it actually represents the artists involved in the production of various movies. Among the films inserted in magazines published by Bauer were both Polish and foreign titles. ZAiKS, despite the failure to provide proper agency agreements with specific authors or foreign collecting societies, said, that it has the right to request such information based on the provisions of Article 105 of the Polish Act of 4 February 1994 on Authors Rights and Neighbouring Rights – ARNR – (in Polish: ustawa o prawie autorskim i prawach pokrewnych), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 24, item 83, consolidated text of 16 May 2006, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 90, item 631 with subsequent amendments.

Art. 105.
1. The collecting society shall be presumed qualified to carry out the administration and protection of rights in the areas of exploitation in which its administration is conducted, and to engage in judicial proceedings associated therewith. This presumption may not be invoked where two or more collection societys claim competence in respect of one and the same work or performance.
2. In the course of its activity the collecting society may demand that information be communicated to it and that documents that are essential for the calculation of the amount of remuneration and fees that it claims be delivered to it.

However, the courts did not agree with ZAiKS and dismissed the lawsuit. ZAiKS filed a cassation complaint. The Supreme Court in its judgment of 27 June 2013 case file I CSK 617/12 held that the case should be re-examined. The Court noted that the lower courts confused the order of proceedings. Information claims should be decided in the first place, for instance, as an interlocutory judgment. In order to challenge the legitimacy of a compensation claim, it must be shown that the other collecting society claims the protection of copyrighted works. It wasn’t enough only indicate that there is another organization working in the sector of ZAiKS’s representation. This principle also extends to the work of foreign artists.

See also “Polish regulations on copyright” and “Polish case law on copyright“.