As we wrote in our previous entry the Senate recently adopted changes to the draft “big” amendment to the Copyright Law. One of the most significant changes is the introduction of the right to receive payments for the public lending of works by public libraries. The law will only involve lyrical works, created or published in the Polish language in a printed format. Such a mechanism is currently being used by European member states as an instrument to market and support their respective national creativity and culture.
The Public Lending Right is supposed to fulfil two key objectives. On one hand, it is expected to promote the Polish language and culture by supporting the creators and publishers of works in the Polish language. On the other, it is expected to effectively implement payment on account of beneficiaries which is due in relation to lending of copies of books by public libraries.
Those who will be eligible to collect fees as a result of the Public Lending Right — must file a relevant declaration on their willingness to receive it:
- The creator of a lyrical work created and published in the Polish language;
- The Polish language translator of a lyrical work originally created in a foreign language;
- The creator of audiovisual works or photographic works constituting part of a lyrical work, created and published in the Polish language (i.e. mainly the co-authors of the comics and tales for children);
- The publisher of the lyrical work in the Polish language.
Keep in mind the relevant declarations concerning the author’s willingness to receive payment as a result of the Public Lending Right should be filed with the relevant collective management organisation and will be applicable in a given calendar year, being filed by 31 August of that year.
The payment will be proportional to the number of copies lent of a particular work by public libraries (excluding the National Library) in the preceding year and will be paid via a collective management organisation. The funds for such payments will come from the subsidies provided by the Minister of Culture from the Cultural Promotion Fund , in the amount of 5% of the value of works bought by the public libraries in the preceding calendar year.
Using the term “public libraries” in the amendment limits the range of such entities. It is important to understand that the right to payment will not apply to academic library lending by e.g. school, scientific or university libraries.
The payment on account of the authorised person for lending of all works for a given year cannot be higher than 5 times the average monthly remuneration (approx. PLN 20 000) and it will be paid provided it exceeds in a given year 1/200 of the average monthly remuneration (approx. PLN 20).
Setting aside the general acceptance of the concept behind supporting Polish creativity, the introduction of the Public Lending Right raises numerous arguments concerning both its scope — as it excludes e-books, audiobooks as well as video and phonograms — as well as in relation to the small rewards intended to be distributed to the beneficiaries.