ENDitorial: Leaked draft of the new Czech Copyright Act
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Deutsch: ENDitorial: Entwurf zum neuen CR-Urheberrechtsgesetz durchgesickert
A leaked draft of the new Czech Copyright Act was obtained by Pirate News at the beginning of August 2010, after the Ministry of Culture has initially declined the request of Czech Pirate Party to have access to the document three days after the draft was sent out for feedback to organizations affected by the proposal. The draft presents a storm of "improvements" which grant millions of euro from public sector budgets to collecting societies.
The Czech Ministry of Culture, collecting societies and The Association of Copying Services Entrepreneurs have prepared a large-scale amendment to the copyright law. Where are the ordinary citizens who will be affected by this amendment? They are represented by the Ministry of Culture comparably to how the collecting societies represent authors on whose behalf they collect royalties.
The amendment will hurt users of copyrighted works, authors themselves and especially libraries and public sector budgets. It will also give support to further attempts to control the Internet. In addition, it will also grant the collecting societies access to citizen registry, on the trial operation of which we have reported about earlier. The amendment is extensive and it consequently erases even the slightest improvements achieved in the past years. Some sections even put us back before November 1989 because they propose compulsory registration of printers under penalty of fine.
Current draft hampers the use of copyleft licenses (e.g. Creative Commons) almost to the point of making it impossible. It grants the collecting societies the right to control orphan works and collect royalties for their use and it prohibits their distribution and reproduction without permission. It reintroduces the obligation to report all live performances to the collecting society OSAm including a detailed program. It strengthens the monopoly of current collecting societies and reduces competition in this segment. In addition, it abolishes the obligation of collecting societies to distribute collected royalties with respect to policy of supporting works and performances important to culture. It decreases compensation of authors and financially hurts public libraries and schools.
The Copyright Act draft contains a controversial section on the temporal effect of copyleft licenses (e.g. Creative Commons, also called public licenses in legal terminology). It imposes the obligation to notify collecting societies on authors each time they decide to publish their works outside the strict copyright framework. The legislation thus disrupts the idea of quick and simple publishing enabled by public licenses and forces bureaucratic elements into the system. Collecting societies would also have complete overview of copyleft works.
The draft states that: "If a right holder not represented on the basis of the agreement expresses his will to exclude the effect of cumulative agreement while providing gratuitous license, the effect of cumulative agreement is excluded to the extent of provided license in respect to the collective administrator at the moment when the collecting administrator is provably notified of the provided license."
That means that in order to achieve free distribution of copylefted work, the author has to notify the collecting society and he carries the burden of proof, that is, he has to prove that license has been provided, or if you like, the user of gratuitous license has to prove the collecting society has been notified, which is even harder. The amendment draft thus violates the declared support of public licenses.
The draft introduces the category of orphan works (section 27a of the draft) whose authors are not known or impossible to locate. The collecting societies would administer rights of these authors according to section 100c paragraph 1 of the draft: "The collective administrator represents the author of an orphan works even in the exercise of rights that are not subject to mandatory collective administration." Collected royalties would be stored for three to five years, the collecting society would deduct 20 percent overhead each year and the remainder would then be transferred to the national cultural or film fund.
Pirate News: Need money? Pass a bill! Draft of the new Czech Copyright Act
has leaked (10.08.2010)
Draft version of amended Copyright Act (only in Czech)
Article: Leaked draft version of the amended Copyright Act (only in Czech, 3.08.2010)
(Thanks to Mikulas Ferjencik, Vice-president of PPCZ and Chief editor of www.piratskenoviny.cz Original article written by Jakub Michálek and translated by Martin Doucha.)