09-01-2012

Copyright Law

Additional Info

  • Dr. Prodromos K. Tsiavos, Attorney at Law, LL.M, MSc,Ph.D
    Associate at Avgerinos & Partners Law Firm (AVGLaw)

What is the aim of the Greek Copyright Law?

Law 2121/1993 with all its subsequent modifications is the legislative instrument deployed for the protection of author’s rights. Authors’rights are the equivalent of Copyright in civil law jurisdictions. Authors’rights (AR) provide a set of moral and economic rights both for providing the authors with economic incentives to create original works and for protecting the link between the author and her work work. AR are a limited property right, both in the sense of its duration (the life of the author plus seventy years) and its nature (ideas and facts are not protected and the work has to be original).

What other rights does Law 2121/1993 cover?

Besides Authors’rights, Law 2121/1993 also covers Related Rights (RR) and the sui generis right of the database maker (sui generis right). Related Rights cover performances by natural persons that are externalised or communicated to the public and which relate to works protected by Law 2121/1993. The sui generis right is granted to the maker of a database to compensate her for the investment made in compiling a database irrespective of whether it is original or not.

What are the works protected by Copyright?

A work protected by the Copyright as defined in law 2121/1993 has to meet the following conditions:

(a) it has to be a creation of the intellect

(b) it has to be original

(c) it needs to be a creation expressed in words or a work of art or of science

(d) it needs to be expressed in a certain form

Are there any formalities required for granting protection under Copyright Law?

No formalities are required. Law 2121/1993 is in accordance to article 5(2) of the Berne convention. The work is protected at the moment of its creation without its completion to be a requirement of protection. Legal Deposit rules of art. 12 of Law 3149/2003 that govern the deposit of a copy of a book to the National Library do not constitute a condition for granting Copyright protection.

Are ideas and facts protected works according to Law 2121/1993?

No. Law 2121/1993 protects only the expression of an idea and not the idea itself. The idea/ expression dichotomy is a key principle in the Greek Copyright law, though the precise boundaries between the two are difficult to pre-determine and need to be examined on a case by case basis.The ideas are considered as the“raw material”upon which creative works may be built and hence need to be outside the Copyright system of protection. On the same grounds, outside the Copyright system of protection are generic processes or methods of operation, mathematical concepts, simple facts and data, news, principles, numbers, art movements, architectural styles, forms, music styles, business and commercial ideas, games instructions as such, standard commands in software menus, mathematical algorithms etc.

What is the threshold of originality for the protection of  works?

While Law 2121/1993 is influenced by French Authors’Rights’law that views the work as an emanation of the author’s personality, the jurisprudence follows the principle of“statistical uniqueness”. According to this theory a work is original if a third person under the same conditions and circumstances cannot produce the same work. The originality in the Greek Copyright system is a relative originality, i.e. it present individual characteristics in accordance to the statistical uniqueness theory or has a certain distance from the known and self evident. Specifically for computer programs, photographs and databases, the Greek law recognises a lower threshold of originality, following Council Directive 91/250/EEC of 14 May 1991 on the legal protection of computer programs, i.e. that the work needs to be the author’s own intellectual creation. Greek jurisprudence accepts that there may be variable levels of originality depending on the character of the work as more creative or more functional or utilitarian.

What are the economic rights granted to an author under Law 2121/1993?

The list of economic rights granted to the authors is not an exhaustive one and includes the following rights:

(a) the right to record and make copies (transient or persistent) of the work in any medium and form, in part or in whole

(b) the right to translate the work

(c) the right to create derivative works or to make any changes or alterations to the original work

(d) the right to distribute the original or its copies to the public in any form through sales or in any other fashion.

(e) the public lending right

(f) the right to publicly perform the work

(g) the right to transmit or retransmit the work to the public by any means or process

(h) the right to make the work available to the public by any means or process

The economic rights are absolute and exclusive and may be exercised irrespectively of whether there is commercial gain from such activity or not. The rights may be licensed exclusively or non exclusively for specific duration or the whole duration protection of the work.

Can the author waive all her economic rights?

Yes, but not to license, assign or waive modes of exploitation not known at the time of the waiver. The author cannot waive or quit from all the rights in her feature works. The waiver of the economic rights does not equal to the waiver of the moral rights; however, the way in which moral rights are exercised has to be interpreted in accordance to the licensing, assignment or waiver of the economic rights by the author.

What is the duration of copyright?

  • The general rule is that the term of protection is the life of the author plus seventy years.
  • If the work is a collaborative work, then the duration is that of the life of the last surviving author plus seventy years.
  • if the work is an audiovisual work, the the term of protection is 70 years after the death of the last surviving from the main director, the script writer, the dialogue author and the original score composer.
  • if the work is a compilation, then the duration is 70 years after the death of the principle editor. However, each of the distinct contributions is calculated separately in accordance to the general rules.
  • If the work is a pseudonymous work, then the duration is 70 years from the date when the work was made first available to the public unless the identity of the author is revealed or made known, in which case the general rule of life plus 70 years applies.

What are the moral rights granted to an author under Law 2121/1993?

The list of moral rights in Law 2121/1993 is a non exhaustive one. It includes the following rights:

  • the right to decide the time, place and way in which the work will be communicated to the public
  • the right to be attributed as the author of the work (paternity right) or the right to remain anonymous or the right to use a pseudonym
  • the right object to any distortion or mutilation of the work including the presentation of the work in any way that prejudices the reputation of the author
  • the right to access the work irrespective of the ownership over the material carrier of the work
  • the right to rescind a contract transferring the economic right or an exploitation contract or license of which his work is the object, subject to payment of material damages to the other contracting party, for the pecuniary loss he has sustained
  • Droit de Suite: the right to demand a share of 5 percent of the selling price whenever an original work of fine art is resold at a public auction or by an art dealer.

What is the duration of the moral right?

Both moral and economic rights last for the life of the author plus seventy years, however, specifically the right of attribution (paternity) and integrity are perpetual.

Can moral rights be waived?

No, but it may be exercised through consent.

Can moral rights be licensed or transferred?

Only after the death of the author, the right is transferred to their heirs and has to be exercised in accordance to her will, if this has been explicitly expressed.

What are the limitations on the economic rights?

The limitations only apply on the economic rights and allow users of the works to perform acts otherwise prohibited without asking permission from the author or rights holder. These are:

  • reproduction for private use
  • quotation of extracts
  • use in School Textbooks and anthologies
  • reproduction for teaching purposes
  • reproduction by libraries and archives
  • reproduction of cinematographic works (National Cinematographic Archive)
  • reproduction for Judicial or Administrative Purposes
  • reproduction for Information purposes
  • use of images of works sited in public places
  • public performance or Presentation on Special Occasions
  • Exhibition and Reproduction of Fine Art Works
  • Reproduction for the Benefit of Blinds and Deaf-Mute
  • temporary acts of reproduction

The limitations provided above shall only be applied in certain special cases which do not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work or other protected subject-matter and do not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the rightholder.

What are the rights owners granted related rights?

  • Performers
  • Producers of Sound and Visual Recordings
  • Radio or Television Organisations
  • Publishers
  • Persons that after the expiry of copyright protection for the first time lawfully publishes or lawfully communicates to the public a previously unpublished work

What are the economic rights granted to a rights owner of related rights?­

The list of rights granted to rights owners of related rights is non exhaustive and includes the following rights per category of rights owners:

(a) Performers have the right to authorise or prohibit:

  • the fixation of their performance
  • the direct or indirect, temporary or permanent reproduction of their performance
  • the distribution to the public of the fixation of their performance
  • the rental and public renting of the fixation of their performance
  • the radio and television broadcasting of the illegal fixation by any means
  • the radio and television broadcasting of their live performance
  • the communication to the public of their live performance made by any means other than radio or television transmission
  • the making available to the public of fixations of their performances in such a way that members of the public may access them from a place and at a time individually chosen by them.
  • the right to remuneration for each of the acts listed above, including an unwaivable right to equitable remuneration for rental, if he has authorized a producer of sound or visual, or audiovisual recordings, to rent out recordings carrying fixations of his performance.

(b) Producers of Sound, Visual and Audiovisual Recordings have the right to authorise or prohibit:

  • the reproduction of their phonograms
  • the distribution of the above by any means
  • the rental and public lending of the above
  • the making available to the public by any means of the above
  • the broadcasting by any means
  • the import of the above recording without their consent from a country outside the European Community when the right over such import in Greece had been retained by the producer through contract
  • the right of equitable remuneration

(c) Radio and Television Organisations:have the right to authorise or prohibit:

  • transmission of broadcasts by any means
  • communication of their broadcasts to the public in places accessible to the public against payment of an entrance fee
  • the fixation of their broadcasts on sound or sound and visual recordings
  • the reproduction of the fixation of their broadcasts
  • the distribution to the public of the recordings containing the fixation of their broadcasts
  • the rental or public lending concerning the recordings containing the fixation of their broadcasts.
  • the making available to the public, by wire or wireless means, in such a way that members of the public may access them from a place and at a time individually chosen by them concerning the fixation of their broadcasts.

(d) Publishers have the right to authorise or prohibit:

  • the reproduction by reprographic, electronic or any other means of the typesetting and pagination format of the works published by them, if the said reproduction is made for exploitation purposes.

(e) Persons publishing previously unpublished works have:

  • the equivalent of the economic right of the author

Are there any moral rights granted to owners of related rights?

Performers have during their liftetime

  • the right to full acknowledgment and credit of their status as such in relation to their performances and
  • to the right to prohibit any form of alteration of their performances.

What is the duration of the performers’ moral rights?

The duration of their life, after which it passes to their heirs and lasts until their death.

What is the duration of related rights?

  • For performers it is 50 years after the date of the performance, but cannot be less that the life of the performer
  • For producers of audio works: 50 years after the fixation is made. However, if the phonogram has been lawfully published within this period, the said rights shall expire 50 years from the date of the first lawful publication. If no lawful publication has taken place within the period mentioned in the first sentence, and if the phonogram has been lawfully communicated to the public within this period, the said rights shall expire 50 years from the date of the first lawful communication to the public.
  • For the producers of audiovisual works: 50 years after the fixation is made. However, if lawful publication or lawful communication of the device is made to the public within such period, such rights shall expire 50 years from the date of first publication or first communication to the public, whichever comes first.
  • For broadcasting organisations 50 years after the date of the first transmission of a broadcast, whether this broadcast is transmitted by wire or over the air, including by cable or satellite or any other means of transmission.
  • For persons having published a previously unpublished work the duration is 50 years after the last edition of the work.

What are the limitations on related rights?

The limitations applicable to the economic right attaching to copyright apply mutatis mutandis to related rights.

Who is granted the sui generis database right?

The sui generis right is granted to the person which shows that there has been qualitatively and/ or quantitatively a substantial investment in either the obtaining, verification or presentation of the contents. The maker of a database is the individual or legal entity who takes the initiative and bears the risk of investment. The database contractor is not considered as maker

What are the rights granted to the maker of a database?

The maker of the database has the right to prevent extraction and/or re-utilisation of the whole or of a substantial part, evaluated qualitatively and/or quantitatively, of the contents of that database. Also The lawful user of a database made available to the public by any means cannot: a) perform acts that are opposed to the normal exploitation of such database or unjustifiably prejudice the lawful interests of the maker thereof, b) cause damage to the beneficiaries of the copyright or related rights for works or performances contained in the said database.

Are there any limitations to the sui generis database right?

The lawful user of a database made available to the public by any means may, without the permission of the maker of the database, extract and/or re-utilise a material part of its content:

a) when the extraction is made for educational or research purposes, provided that the source is quoted, and to the extent that it is justified by the non commercial purpose pursued,

b) when the extraction and/or re-utilisation is made for reasons of public safety or for purposes of administrative or judicial procedure. T

What is the duration of the sui generis database right?

The sui generis right expires 15 years from the 1st of January of the year following the data of the database completion, unless any substantial change is made. In the case of any such substantial change, evaluated qualitatively and/or quantitatively, to the contents of a database, including any substantial change resulting from the accumulation of successive additions, deletions or alterations, which would result in the database being considered to be a substantial new investment, evaluated qualitatively and/or quantitatively, shall qualify the database resulting from that investment for its own term of protection.

Can authors collectively manage their rights?

Authors may assign the administration and/or protection of their rights to a collecting society established exclusively to engage in the functions of administering and protecting all or part of the economic rights. Likewise, collecting societies may perform those functions for a person to whom the author has granted a right as a gift, for a general proxy, for an heir or for a foundation set up by an author. A collecting society may have any form of company status. Where a collecting society is registered as an incorporated company all of its shares shall be nominal.

Related items

     

 

Login

Log in to your account or