Archive for: Art. 16 ARNR

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 I ACa 787/11

December 1st, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

Stan Borys is a Polish singer and author of the lyrics to the song “Chmurami zatańczy sen”, which was composed in 1974. A longer excerpt from the chorus “Ciemno juz zgasły wszstkie światła, ciemno już, noc nadchodzi głucha” has been used by Ryszard Andrzejwski, a Polish raper called PEJA as a sample in his song “Głucha noc” which was recorded in 2001 and released by his publisher T1-Teraz sp. z o.o. on two albums in 2001 and 2002. These albums were distributed by EMI Music Poland. The sampled part was transformed by changing the voice octave and by increasing the music tempo. The song became a hit that was aired in radio and television stations.

CT Creative Team S.A. sells multimedia content to mobile phones based on SMS and WAP technology using Premium Rate numbers. On 26 August 2003 the company entered a license agreement with T1-Teraz for distribiution of short fragments of songs recorded by PEJA. This also included 30 seconds of “Głucha noc”. These music pieces were uploaded to CT Creative MEdia server. CT was obliged to pay 0,15 PLN for each downloaded fragment, the payment followed within 14 days after the end of each calendar quarter. CT was also required to provide an additional statement containing the information on songs/fragments used together with the original titles, numbers of downloads and numbers of fees charged. A year later the two companies signed an similar agreement with a fee 0.,5 PLN per downloaded song. In the period from September 2003 to October 2005, this song has been downloaded 859 times as a phone ringtone and CT earned 3465 PLN.

Stan Borys found out about this song in 2004. To his surprise, he was informed at the press conference, held together with PEJA. Resentful of this situation, he explained that he did not consent to the use of his song by PEJA. His attorney requested the CT Creative to stop distribution of the song and the ring tone was withdrawn. Stan Borys sued CT, T1-Teraz, and Ryszard Andrzejewski.

The District Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 14 September 2010 case file I C 626/06 held most of the claims were justified. The Court ruled that the fragment used by PEJA by its transformation constitutes a derived work made from the work of Stan Borys. The manner of disposal of the derived work and the use thereof should be subject to the consent of the creator of the original work (the so-called dependent copyright), except where the economic rights in the original work have expired. Stan Borys is entitled to protection of his moral and economic rights. The court disagreed with the argument that the license agreement allows for the free dissemination of the work as specified in the agreement. The obligation to indicate the creator of the original song is saddled with both the creator of derived work (if one does not do that he or she risks the charges of plagiarism) and that one who distributes a derived work. The Court cited the judgment of the Appellate Court in Warsaw of 14 March 2006 case file VI ACa 1012/05. See “Copyright law, case VI ACa 1012/05“.

The court found that the lack of consent on the creation of a sample and dissemination of the work and the lack of designation of the author of the original work is the evidence of unlawful infringement of copyright and the rights to artistic performance by the CT Creative. In the assessment of the Court, the infringement was culpable in the form of at least negligence because it was associated with lack of diligence in examining whether distributed ringtones are not other people’s songs/works and such an obligation results from the professional nature of CT Creative’s business. However, intentional guilt can be attributed to CT Creative from 12 September 2005 when the company received a corresponding letter from Stan Bory’s attorney.

The court ruled that as a result of CT actions Stan Borys was deprived of possibility to exercise his rights of supervision over the use of the work, authorship rights and rights to cause the work to appear under his name and surname. The court also took into account the form in which the infringement has occurred. Stan Borys claimed that this violation was for him the more severe because the fragment of “Chmurami zatańczy sen” has been distorted in a caricature way and it was used in hip hop song, which included obscene words. Stan Borys did not and does not want to have nothing in common with this genre of music. The Court agreed with the argument that creating this sample in this given form depreciated previous works of Stan Borys. The court held that there is a causal link between the activities of CT Creative and the harm and damage caused to Stan Borys. This applied both to his personal rights (intangible) and economic rights to the copyrighted work because he did not receive any remuneration for the distribution of. The court ordered the cessation of the use and distribution of the work and ordered to pay 15000 PLN for the infringement of personal rights and 10000 PLN for the infringement of economic rights and rights in performance (three times of the equitable remuneration, which at the time of the enforcement would be payable to the entitled person for granting the permission for the use of the work), and to publish an apology.

CT Creative appealed. The Appeallate Court in Warsaw in its judgment case file I ACa 787/11 reversed the sum of compensation and send the case back for reconsideration.

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

Tax law, case I SA/Kr 60/10

April 7th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Polish company which provides advertising services that are based on placing advertising banners on Internet websites requested the Minister of Finance to issue an individual interpretation of tax law. The company rents websites from individuals and companies for remuneration. Banner ads are placed on rented websites by using a computer software owned by the company. The owners of rented websites were required at the start of cooperation only to do a single interference/change in the code in order to make space on their websites for ads placed by the Company. This moment was treated as a commitment by the parties to the lease agreement and such a website was subject to use and benefits/usufruct. The owners of websites were not required to render to the Company (or its customers) any other additional steps. The company receives payments from its advertisers/customers according to the agreement, i.e. periodicaly for example monthly or once after the ad campaign ended.

The company asked whether income from remuneration for the lease obtained by individuals (private persons) who were not doing any business activity in this field, must be considered to sources mentioned in article 10(1) pt 6 of the Polish Act on Personal Income Tax – PITA – (in Polish: ustawa o podatku dochodowym od osób fizycznych) of 26 July 1991, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 80, item 350, with later amendments.

Article 10.
1. The sources of revenues shall include:
6) letting, subletting, lease, sublease and similar contracts, including also lease, sublease of special sectors of agricultural production and agricultural undertakings or parts thereof for non-agricultural purposes or for running special sectors of agricultural production, with the exception of assets used for commercial activities;

The company wanted to know whether it should be also acting as withholding agent, who is obliged to collect withholding income tax. The company argued that according to article 10(1) pt 6 and 44(1) pt 2 of the PITA it is not its duty. The Director of the Tax Chamber, acting under the authority of the Minister of Finance, held the position of the Company to be invalid. The Director and the Minister of Finance held that every time there was a service contract concluded between the company and the owners of websites and not the lease agreement, because the owner should be regarded as a person cooperating with the Company based on the fact that they have been required to comply with personal activities, i.e. one-time intervention in the code of a website, so that ads can appear on their website. Their revenues shall be defined as in article 10(1) pt 1 of the PITA.

Article 10.
1. The sources of revenues shall include:
1) service relationship, employment relationship, including cooperative employment relationship, farming or other agricultural production cooperative, homework, retirement or disability pension;

The company appealed. The Voivodeship Administrative Court (VAC) in Kraków in its judgment of 5 March 2010 case file I SA/Kr 60/10 held that a website is not either the tangible object/property or the right. It cannot therefore be subject to a lease within the meaning of the Polish Civil Code. However, according to the principle of contractual freedom, as the company correctly pointed out, it would be acceptable to conclude the so-called unnamed contract, which would be similar to the standard lease contract as provided by the regulations included in the Civil Code. The changes made in HTML code were just the technical operation.

See also “Tax law, case ILPB2/415-679/08-2/AJ