Poland To Modify Authors’ Rights Violations Regulation After Constitutional Court Ruling 30/06/2015 by Jaroslaw Adamowski for Intellectual Property Watch Leave a Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)WARSAW – Poland’s Constitutional Court has released a ruling in which it states that the country’s regulation obliging any entity violating other entity’s author’s rights to pay the threefold amount of due payment is excessive, and, as a result, should be amended. The latest ruling will oblige the Polish Parliament to modify the authors’ rights bill in line with the Constitutional Court decision, and decrease the amount of the due compensation. The court made its ruling following a complaint issued by local cable television operator UPC Poland with the support of the Polish Ombudsman’s office. In its decision, released on 23 June [available here in Polish], the court says that Art. 79 of the law on authors’ rights and related rights from 4 February 1994 is “not compliant with … the constitution of the Republic of Poland.” In particular, the said regulation violates Art. 64, paragraphs 1 and 2, of the Polish constitution, which states that “[e]veryone shall have the right to ownership, other property rights and the right of succession” and “[e]veryone, on an equal basis, shall receive legal protection regarding ownership, other property rights and the right of succession” [available here in English]. Poland’s Constitutional Court – photo credit: Jan Bogacz_BTK trybunal gov pl UPC Poland filed its complaint with the Constitutional Court following a case it lost in a Polish court on 14 October 2013. The cable operator was sued by the Polish Filmmakers Association (SFP) for rebroadcasting television programmes without the association’s permission, and it was subsequently sentenced to pay a fine by a Polish district court. Meanwhile, the latest ruling was applauded by local industry association Union of Audiovisual Authors and Producers (ZAPA). The association said that obliging UPC Poland to pay the fine, which, according to the court, was to total 6.6 percent of the company’s annual revenues from the provision of TV broadcasting services [available here in Polish], represented “a significant step towards bringing order into the cable TV rebroadcasting market in Poland.” UPC Poland, along with other local cable TV operators, was initially required to pay the SFP some 2.2 percent of its TV services revenues for the right to rebroadcast programmes. The exact amount of the due fee, which was increased by the court threefold, was not disclosed by the parties. In the released statement which includes a justification for its ruling [available here in Polish], the court said that “the contested regulation violates the proportionality rule and constitutes a far-reaching interference in the proprietary freedom of the perpetrator.” According to the Constitutional Court, the obligation to pay a fine for the violation of authors’ rights “cannot lead to a complete disproportion between the size of the incurred loss and the due compensation.” “In the opinion of the Court, the legislative, by determining the size of the analysed claim, decided to impose … a sanction which is too severe,” the court said [available here in Polish]. However, the reasoning of the court was countered by MP Stanislaw Piotrowicz from the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party, who represented the Polish Parliament at the hearings. Piotrowicz said that, in order to be efficient, the law must contain an element of prevention, and the requirement to pay the threefold amount could serve as effective deterrence, as reported by local daily Rzeczpospolita [available here in Polish]. Moreover, Wojciech Sadrakula, who represented the General Prosecutor’s Office, said that authors’ rights violations should not be underestimated as minor, as “unlawful distribution of other person’s work is a crime … punishable by up to five years of prison.” As of the first quarter of 2015, UPC Poland had more than 1.425 million active subscribers to its services, of which close to 1.2 million subscribers paid for the company’s TV services, according to data released by the operator [available here in Polish]. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Jaroslaw Adamowski may be reached at email@example.com."Poland To Modify Authors’ Rights Violations Regulation After Constitutional Court Ruling" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.