Lithuania Transposes the DSM Directive

May 4 2022 - 13:01

Amendments to the Lithuanian Copyright Act aiming to transpose the EU Directive 2019/790 on Copyright and Related Rights in the Digital Single Market (the DSM Directive) entered into force on May 1, 2022. Lithuania, like numerous other EU member states including Austria, Spain, Greece, France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Czech Republic, was not able to comply with the implementation deadline of June 7, 2021 (once the DSM Directive came into force, all EU member states needed to implement it into their national legislations within 24 months). Below are important things to note regarding Lithuania’s implementation of three articles of the DSM Directive.

Article 15 – Issues with Quantitative Interpretation of ‘Very Short Extracts’

Article 15 of the DSM Directive requires member states to introduce a related or neighboring right for press publishers regarding the online use of their publications. However, as any other right, the press publishers’ right has its substantive limits and the Directive states that this right does not apply to, inter alia, uses of ‘very short extracts’.

Lithuanian lawmakers decided to define the term ‘very short extract’ as an extract that “consists of 125 characters or less, excluding headers and spaces”. This definition raises a number of issues, one of which is that defining ‘very short extracts’ by a number of characters excludes visual artworks or audio recordings. Such issues will probably be raised before the the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), which will have to decide whether a quantitative definition of a ‘very short extract’ accurately implements Article 15 of the DSM Directive.

Article 17 – No Significant Changes to the Original Wording

Notably, the controversial and often discussed Article 17, which regulates the liability of online content-sharing service providers, was transposed mostly in a copy-and-paste fashion.

Article 18 – Expanding the Application of Appropriate and Proportionate Remuneration

The principle of appropriate and proportionate remuneration from Article 18 of the DSM Directive is mostly intended to be applied to the direct, contractual relationship between the author or performer and their producer or publisher. The Lithuanian law, however, implements this provision by establishing a compulsory collective management mechanism, which resembles mandatory collective management, while also having some differences. Namely, according to the amended Lithuanian Copyright Act, the author’s right to receive remuneration for the use of their works is irrevocable and non-transferable if their rights are administered by a collective management organization (CMO). This mechanism, however, is not mandatory, because the author needs to explicitly authorize the CMO to collect the author’s fees. However, once the authorization is given, any other agreements with third parties become null and void. This is what differentiates this mechanism from mandatory collective management, despite their similarities.

By: Zita Szilágyi

For more information, please contact Zita Szilágyi at our Hungary office.

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