Archive for: informational claim

Copyright law, case VI ACz 856/13

July 8th, 2013, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Appeallate Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 13 June 2013 case file VI ACz 856/13 dismissed the complaint against the order to submit technologically advanced equipment and software that supports electronic transactions, into the case file. The case was initiated by a Company that suspected its former licensee of using computer software despite the expiry of the license. Copyright infringement has to be properly proved by a plaintiff. In many cases, it does not require any excessive effort, especially when infringing products are already placed on the market by the defendant. Difficulties arise, however, when infringing goods are under the exclusive possession of the alleged infringer. The claim to secure evidence is provided for in Article 80(1)(i) 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.

Article 80. 1.
The court competent to hear the cases of infringement of the author’s economic rights in the locality where the offender conducts its activity or where his economic is located, also prior to filing suit, shall consider, within no more than 3 days of filing, an application of a party with legal interest therein:
1) for securing evidence and securing claims related thereto;

See “Trade mark law, case XXII GWo 68/12” for more on informational claims in Polish industrial property law proceedings.

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“.

Copyright law, case III CSK 30/11

March 14th, 2012, Tomasz Rychlicki

Helena Miazek is a well known Polish folk artist and creator of paper cuts that are based on the long tradition of Łowicz region. Wawel S.A. is a Polish manufacturer of sweets. The company used different graphics with folk elements on its products. Helena Miazek and Stowarzyszenie Twórców Ludowych in Lublin (The Folk Artists Association – a collecting society) sued Wawel for copyright infringement. The suit included a claim in which the Association demanded Wawel to provide information concerning the use of paper cuts on packaging products. Wawel argued that it has commissioned other artists to create these graphics. The District and the Appeallate Court dismissed the suit as unfounded. Both courts deemed the society as the entrepreneur which was obliged to prove that a particular copyrighted work was used without permission of the owner. The Association and Helena Miazek filed a cassation complaint.

The Supreme Court in its judgment of 17 October 2011 case file III CSK 30/11 repealed the contested decision and returned it to the Appellate Court for further reconsideration. The Court had to decide on the nature of information claim afforded in Article 105(2) 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.

Earlier Supreme Court case law is not too rich when it comes to this issue. The Supreme Court in its judgment of 8 December 2000 case file I CKN 971/98 published in OSNC 2001/6/97, pointed out that the provision included in Article 105(2) of the ARNR is a legal norm of substantive law, and the right of collecting societies to protect authors rights and neighbouring rights, exempts it from the obligation to provide the authority to represent, both in the trial for payment, or in any trial for disclosure of information and documents. The Supreme Court in its order of 17 September 2009 case file III CZP 57/09 held that the proceedings for disclosure of information and documentation is a new legal tool. The Court ruled that in the doctrine of civil law, it is reasonably assumed that if the right is strictly defined and concretized in terms of its content and subject, and when this right is merged with the obligation of another entity, then such a legal norm is substantive in its nature and in case of evasion by the bounded entity from the performance of an obligation imposed on it, the right takes the form of a claim which may be enforced through the courts. For instance, the claim to disclosure of information has the auxiliary nature under the contractual relationship between the collecting society and the producers and importers of tape recorders, video recorders and other similar apparatus, or blank material for the recording of works with the aid of such apparatus for personal and private use, and also of reprographic apparatus who are obliged to pay remuneration fees, for the benefit of the creators and performers of the said works and of the producers of phonograms and videograms. These creators and performers are represented in such cases only by the collection society. Such informational claim, which addressed to the same bounded entities, was created to ensure the proper execution of the basic right to equitable remuneration. Information and documents obtained during the trail are the basis for determining the amount of the fees enjoyed by collecting society, regardless of whether the society intends to pursue these fees in court. The Supreme Court in the case of Helena Miazek and and Stowarzyszenie Twórców Ludowych in Lublin decided that the informational claim also applies to information concerning the use of certain works by a third party.

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

Copyright law, case P 18/09

October 14th, 2011, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Constitutional Tribunal of the Republic of Poland in its judgment of 11 October 2011 case file P 18/09 held that Collecting Societies acting on behalf of authors, performers, producers of phonograms and videograms and publishers, may demand from manufacturers of copiers and recorders all information and documents necessary for calculation of the amount of fees levied on them. The producers and importers of tape recorders, video recorders and other similar apparatus are obliged to pay these fees according to Article 20(1) 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.

1. The producers and importers of tape recorders, video recorders and other similar apparatus, or blank material for the recording of works with the aid of such apparatus for personal and private use, and also of reprographic apparatus shall be obliged to pay, for the benefit of the creators and performers of the said works and of the producers of phonograms and videograms, fees in an amount not exceeding 3% of the selling price of the said apparatus and material.
ii. The amount of the fees referred to in paragraph 1 shall accrue:
(1) to the creators for 50%,
(2) to the performers for 25%,

The Association of Copyright Collective Administration for Authors of Scientific and Technical Works requested one of the Polish companies to provide information about copiers imported and sold in Poland. Every Collecting Society has the right to request such information based on the provisions of Article 105 of the ARNR.

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 collective administration organizations 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.

This request created legal uncertainty and the case ended before the courts. The Appellate Court in Wrocław had doubts whether such request violates trade secrets of a company, and there are any guarantees to protect against fraud. The Court noted that the protection of trade secrets is guaranteed by the freedom of economic activity. That freedom may be restricted only for reasons of important public interest. Meanwhile, the interest of collecting societies is not the public interest, but the sum of the partial interests of private authors, creators and publishers.

The Constitutional Tribunal ruled that fees charged by Collecting Societies are collected in order to protect the rights of creators, performers, producers of phonograms and videograms and publishers. This means that the restriction of freedom of economic activity was in accordance to the condition expressed in Article 31(3) of the Polish Constitution.

Article 31
Freedom of the person shall receive legal protection.

Everyone shall respect the freedoms and rights of others. No one shall be compelled to do that which is not required by law.

Any limitation upon the exercise of constitutional freedoms and rights may be imposed only by statute, and only when necessary in a democratic state for the protection of its security or public order, or to protect the natural environment, health or public morals, or the freedoms and rights of other persons. Such limitations shall not violate the essence of freedoms and rights.

The Constitutional Tribunal held that in order to protect the rights of others, the legislature intervenes in the economic relations, that are based on the model of market economy in a democratic state, whose pillars are freedom of economic activity and private property. The Constitutional Tribunal held that Article 105(2) of the ARNR limits the freedom of economic activity, but it does not affect the principle of proportionality. The limitation of the freedom of economic activity serves to protect the interests and constitutional values ​​such as the rights of creators, social conditions and economic foundations of a market economy. The limitations of economic activity are necessary to protect these values, and to avoid state interference in the sphere of access to modern reprographic equipment.

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

Copyright law, case V CSK 22/08

November 16th, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Society of Authors and Publishers Polish Book from Kraków (in Polish: Stowarzyszenie Autorów i Wydawców Polska Książka w Krakowie) is one of the Polish collecting societies. The Society sued Euroimpex company which is a distributor of reprographic equipment, mainly photocopiers and scanners. The suit was based on Article 20(1)(ii) of of Polish Act on Authors Rights and Neighbouring Rights – ARNR – (in Polish: ustawa o prawie autorskim i prawach pokrewnych) of 4 February 1994, 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.

1. The producers and importers of tape recorders, video recorders and other similar apparatus, or blank material for the recording of works with the aid of such apparatus for personal and private use, and also of reprographic apparatus shall be obliged to pay, for the benefit of the creators and performers of the said works and of the producers of phonograms and videograms, fees in an amount not exceeding 3% of the selling price of the said apparatus and material.
ii. The amount of the fees referred to in paragraph 1 shall accrue:
(1) to the creators for 50%,
(2) to the performers for 25%,

The District Court in Kraków ordered Euroimpex to pay the reprographic fee in the amount of 124,678 PLN. Euroimpex filed an appeal in which it argued that the provisions of ARNR are unconstitutional. However, the Appellate Court in Kraków shared the opinion issued by the District Court and ruled that there is a lack of grounds to question the compliance of article 20(1)(ii) and article 105(2) of the ARNR with the constitutional norms.

Article 105
1. The collective administration organization 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 collective administration organizations claim competence in respect of one and the same work or performance.
2. In the course of its activity the collective administration organization 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.

A similar view was also expressed in relation to provisions of the Regulation of the Minister of Culture of 2 June 2003 on designation of categories of devices and media used for recording of productions and payments levied on sales of these devices and carriers carried out by producers and importers, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 105, item 991. Euroimpex filed a cassation complaint.

The Supreme Court in a judgment of 19 June 2008, case file V CSK 22/08, ruled that according to the settled case law, any court, in principle, has the same power to assess whether the provisions of regulation that may be applicable in a given case are not inconsistent with the Constitution. Additionally, the SC ruled that the provisions related to the remuneration fees are justified and their introduction was an expression of global trends in intellectual property law that was also made in order to compensate authors and publishers for what they lose by copying or reproduction of works made by third persons for the personal use. These are the civil law claims, which the collecting societies have the right to collect and which they are allowed to claim before the court. As these fees are divided, is no longer a matter to be decided by the Court, but it is the inner matter of organization and artists who are members of this organization.

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