ENDitorial: Leaked draft of the new Czech Copyright Act

By EDRi · August 25, 2010

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [ENDitorial: Entwurf zum neuen CR-Urheberrechtsgesetz durchgesickert | http://www.unwatched.org/node/2131]

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

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.)