Serbia to Amend Copyright Law

Dec 27 2013 - 17:19

Serbia is preparing amendments to its Law on Copyright and Related Rights, expected to enter into force in the first half of 2014.

The amendments aim to align Serbian legislation with Directive 2011/77/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 September 2011 amending and supplementing Directive 2006/116/EU on the term of protection of copyright and certain related rights.

In accordance with Article 1, paragraph 1 of Directive 2011/77/EU, the amendments harmonize the method of calculating the term of protection for co-written musical compositions with words and foresee a term of protection of 70 years upon the death of the last surviving co-author.

In accordance with Article 1, paragraph 2a of Directive 2011/77/EU, the period of protection of the rights of performers and phonogram producers is extended to 70 years. According to the current law, the property right lasts for 50 years from the date of the performance, and if the performance was lawfully published or communicated, then the protection period is calculated from the date of publication or communication.

In accordance with Article 1, paragraph 2b of Directive 2011/77/EU, the amendments stipulate that the performer has the right to obtain an annual supplementary remuneration from the phonogram producer for each full year following the 50th year after the phonogram was lawfully published or, if there was no such publication, the 50th year after it was lawfully communicated to the public.

The amendments to the provisions regulating civil procedure aim to establish a more efficient system of protection and further align Serbian law with Directive 2004/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights.

Under the amendments, not only an exclusive licensee, but also a non-exclusive licensee may initiate copyright infringement proceedings.

The amendments establish that the interim measures may be taken without hearing the defendant, especially when a delay could cause damage to the plaintiff.

The law also introduces a provision under which the court has the right to seek information regarding copyright infringement not only from the infringer, but also from third parties that are in a business relationship with the infringer, i.e. persons who own the products infringing copyright or related rights or persons providing services that infringe such rights.

Certain novelties have been introduced to provisions governing the collective management of copyright and related rights.

Under the amendments, a clear distinction has been made between the two grounds for revocation of a copyright collective license, namely serious offense and repeated offense, which clearly establishes that a copyright law violation by a copyright collective does not have to be repeated in order for its license to be terminated.

A proposed amendment precisely determines how copyright collectives are to formulate a distribution plan, which is the legal basis for the distribution of collected fees. The proposed amendment is intended to prevent leaving room for individuals or departments within copyright collectives to arbitrarily estimate the fees.

The amendments clearly define the content of reports that copyright collectives are required to submit to the Serbian PTO, the supervisory authority. The reports must be based on clear, unambiguous and verifiable data, which should lead to a greater transparency regarding the activities of copyright collectives, so that they can be monitored more adequately.

Under the amendments, artists whose performances have been recorded on audio and image carriers are also to get compensation from the re-broadcasting of their performances. Until now, that right was granted only to artists whose performances were recorded on audio sound carriers, e.g. musicians and singers, and now actors will benefit from it as well, that is their legal situation and their financial position is expected to improve.

Prepared by: Jelena Jankovic

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Source: Serbian PTO

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