Archive for: permissible use of copyrighted materials

Copyright law, case I ACa 129/12

December 21st, 2012, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Polish Collecting Society representing authors and composers sued an owner of a road restaurant that for nearly five years he played without a proper license agreement music from the television ads that were aired in news channels. The defendant claimed that he only uses the television as any citizen who pays subscription. The District Court in Częstochowa in its judgment of 27 October 2011 case file I C 179/11 decided that that playing music in a restaurant room for an unlimited number of people is deemed as communication to the public under the copyright law.

The Appeallate Court in Katowice in its judgment of 13 April 2012 case file I ACa 129/12 found that the TV set at the restaurant aired mostly news programs and almost all TV programs are interrupted by advertising breaks in which background music is often broadcasted. It was obvious for the Court that the author was properly remunerated for the use of his work in advertising. However, in this case the court bent over considering that the author of the text or the music should have additional consideration for the publication of his work in the advertising. The Court concluded that, although the TV broadcast of interesting programs can affect customers and lead to the financial gain, however, viewing ads is not something attractive for them. As it was further noted, when it comes to public perception of advertising, one may even venture to say that they are pesky and daunting thing to watch the program. The Court held that broadcasting music that was aired in TV ads, does not lead to obtaining material benefits by the owner of the restaurant, thus charging penalty only on such grounds had to be considered as ineligible.

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

Personal interests, case I ACa 689/13

August 1st, 2012, Tomasz Rychlicki

FS File Solutions Ltd. is the owner of a popular hosting website that allows for hosting different files by using a simple web interface. The Polish Chamber of Books (PCB) is Poland’s publishing industry trade body that found many of its titles available on without the permission of copyright holders. The PCB issued negative press and TV statements regarding policy and business model. The Company sued the PCB for the infringement of its personal interests. FS claimed that by calling it “pirate service” the PCB infringed on its the company name (firm).

The District Court in Warszawa I Civil Chamber in its judgment of 20 February 2013 case file I C 407/12 ruled that PCB did not infringed personal interests of FS. File Solutions filed an appeal.

The Appeallate Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 10 October 2013 case file I ACa 689/13 returned the case to the District Court.

Copyright law, case C-406/10

May 5th, 2012, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Court of Justice of the EU in its judgment of 2 May 2012 Case C-406/10 ruled that Article 1(2) of Council Directive 91/250/EEC of 14 May 1991 on the legal protection of computer programs must be interpreted as meaning that neither the functionality of a computer program nor the programming language and the format of data files used in a computer program in order to exploit certain of its functions constitute a form of expression of that program and, as such, are not protected by copyright in computer programs for the purposes of that directive.

The CoJ noted that Article 5(3) of Directive 91/250/EEC must be interpreted as meaning that a person who has obtained a copy of a computer program under a licence is entitled, without the authorisation of the owner of the copyright, to observe, study or test the functioning of that program so as to determine the ideas and principles which underlie any element of the program, in the case where that person carries out acts covered by that licence and acts of loading and running necessary for the use of the computer program, and on condition that that person does not infringe the exclusive rights of the owner of the copyright in that program.

The Court also ruled that Article 2(a) of Directive 2001/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 May 2001 on the harmonisation of certain aspects of copyright and related rights in the information society must be interpreted as meaning that the reproduction, in a computer program or a user manual for that program, of certain elements described in the user manual for another computer program protected by copyright is capable of constituting an infringement of the copyright in the latter manual if – this being a matter for the national court to ascertain – that reproduction constitutes the expression of the intellectual creation of the author of the user manual for the computer program protected by copyright.

Tax law, case II FSK 1548/10

April 2nd, 2012, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 9 March 2012 case file II FSK 1548/10 ruled that an agreement concluded between the advertiser company and the owners of websites is deemed as unnamed contracts, similar to tenancy contracts. The inclusion to the application of a third party code that allows for the inclusion of advertising on the website is in fact a violation of the integrity of the copyrighted work – the website. It is therefore the realm of personal (rather than property) rights of the copyright holders. Although these are inalienable rights, but according to the prior case-law, it is permitted to waive of the exercise of these rights by the creator to third parties, including entrepreneurs as it was decided by the Appellate Court in Warszawa in its judgment of 14 May 2007case file ACa 668/06 published in OSA 2008/12/39. The author or copyright owner can effectively commit to a specific person not to execute of personal rights, or even to allow for its exercise on his or her behalf, because then it comes to the exercise, and not to the renouncement of moral (personal) rights.

Copyright law, case III CZP 61/11

November 19th, 2011, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Polish Supreme Court in its order of 26 October 2011 case file III CZP 61/11 held that manufacturers and importers of photocopiers, scanners and other similar reprographic equipment, that allow for the production of copies of the whole or part of the published copyrighted work, are obliged to provide to the competent organization for collective copyright management (collecting society), information and documents, that relate to all contracts for the sale of these devices.

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

Copyright law, case VI ACa 461/11

November 3rd, 2011, Tomasz Rychlicki

Maryla Rodowicz is a well-known singer in Poland. She composed and recorded a song entitled “Marusia” about a Russian soldier-girl that was one of heroines from the book “Czterej pancerni i pies” written by Janusz Przymanowski. Mrs Rodowicz also created a video clip for this song. You can easily search and find it on YouTube. She used 3 minutes of the TV series entitled “Czterej pancerni i pies” where Marusia is portrayed by Polish actress Pola Raksa. Mrs Rodowicz paid 9.000 PLN of licensee fee to the producer Telewizja Polska S.A. A widow of the writer filed a copyright infringement suit claiming that this ridiculous video violated his personal and economic copyrights.

The Appellate Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 27 October 2011 case file VI ACa 461/11 had to answer the most important question, i.e. what was the nature of the video clip. Expert witnesses that were appointed by the agreement of both parties stated that the video is not an inspired work, because it directly incorporated some parts of the TV series. It wasn’t also a derivative work since it did not creatively transform the original work. Experts said that this was a work with borrowings, that copied fragments of someone else’s work where the right of quotation was exceeded. However, such use requires the consent of the copyright holder. The problem was that the producer was not able to provide the agreements from the time when the series was produced. The Court held, that in this case copyrights to the script are in the hands of creators, including Mr Przymanowski and his heirs. The Court ordered Maryla Rodowicz to pay 37.000 PLN of compensation.

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

Copyright law, case II SA/Gd 529/10

October 10th, 2011, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Mayor of Gdańsk city received a request to disclose an architectural project of the building. The Mayor refused and explained that this request could not be executed because it concerns the copyrighted work. By issuing certified copies the Mayor creates new documents, that may be used in different situations. The applicant argued that he needs a copy, not a certified one. The case was dismissed by the Voivode in its order of 25 May 2010 no. WI.I/EK/7111-121/10. The Voivode is the administration body that hears complaints against such decisions, and the applicant decided to bring his case before the court.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Gdańsk in its judgment of 26 January 2011 case file II SA/Gd 529/10 overturned both decisions. The Court held, that although the architectural project of a building is a work covered by copyright protection, according to the provisions of Article 332 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, it is permitted to use copyrighted works for the purposes of public security or for the purposes of administrative, court or legislative proceedings and any reports thereof.

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

Copyright law, case V CSK 373/10

August 5th, 2011, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Polish Filmmakers Association (SFP) sued a local cable television. The dispute concerned unpaid royalties, because this local TV rebroadcasted movies without a proper agreement with the Collecting Society. SFP is the only of such collection societies in Poland responsible for the management for movies and TV series. The court ordered the TV station to cease rebroadcasting, and ordered to pay compensation equivalent to triple rates of remuneration. The TV station argued that the calculation of damages was based on rates that are not market prices, since they have benn negotiated and established by the only organization on the market. The case went to the final instance.

The Supreme Court in its judgment of 15 June 2011 case file V CSK 373/10 held that a court cannot prohibit rebroadcasting of TV programs, if it was a part of the activity of a cable television, even if rebroadcasting was made without the consent of the collecting society. If the parties argue about rates for rebroadcasting, the court shall appoint a witness expert, because the rates that are used by the collecting societies for rebroadcasting are not market rates by definition, because they were adopted by one organization. Moreover, the Court ruled that the claim for payment of double of the respective remuneration as provided in Article 79(1) pt. 3 letter b of the ARNR, is a special way of protecting author’s economic rights. It has the compensatory nature, and it’s not required to demonstrate evidence of the culpability of the person who used copyrighted work without the required permit, the damage that was suffered by the rightholder and benefits that were acquired by the infringer, during the suit.

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

Copyright law, case I CR 312/75

May 22nd, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Court in its judgment of 19 September 1975 case file I CR 312/75 held that flower compositions (ikebana) were works of art within the meaning of the old Polish copyright law, and that the defendant by publishing of photographs of these compositions and their distribution infringed on authors’ rights (moral rights) of the creator of these compositions. In addition, the Court noted that the limitations of the rights to distribute works and to remuneration, governed by the old copyright law, in the name of social interest (use), meant that in the cases provided for in the cited provisions it was allowed to distribute copyrighted works, and use these works in principle, without paying remuneration, and thus deprive the holders of their rights.

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

Copyright law, case I CR 91/73

June 2nd, 2008, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Court in its judgment of 25 April 1973 case file I CR 91/73 ruled that the work of art becomes subject to copyright if it’s somehow fixed, i.e., if it takes any form, even if unstable and transient, but in so constant, so that the content and features of the work exerted artistic effect. The compositions of flowers (ikebana) meet this requirement. Therefore, it is not allowed to copy it without permission, inter alia, by photographic means, for any use other than personal use, in particular – for use in connection with the achievement of economic benefits.

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