Centrum Cyfrowe is proud to publish an English version of the joint proposal of our Center and ICM UW for a major reform of Polish copyright law. The proposal explores reform in five key areas:
- protection of public domain
- expansion of authors’ freedom
- extension of public domain by public resources
- expansion of users’ rights
- reduction of copyright enforcement.
Aims and scope of this proposal
By formulating these recommendations we aim to play an active role in the ongoing debate on copyright reform in Poland. The issues raised in the proposal address mainly the Polish laws - however they are in their majority ex-territorial. Thus we believe that our proposal contributes to the discussion regarding a European reform of copyright laws in the digital environment.
It is our view that Poland and Europe need to re-consider the current copyright system. This must be done in order to ensure the most free possible circulation of content, while finding at the same time a fair balance between the rights of creators, users and intermediaries. The solutions applied up to date have focused on enforcement rather than on a creation of an acceptable social agreement with respect to use of copyrighted works.
Join the debate on copyright reform
We continue the work on our proposal by organizing in Poland a series of working sessions with copyright experts and public debates. The proposal has also been published online on a consultation platform, allowing us to collect comments on the proposal. Our goal is to develop the proposal further into a set of specific recommendations for the law makers.
Background: copyright reform and the ACTA debate
The current Polish Act on copyright and related rights (Ustawa o prawie autorskim I prawach pokrewnych) has been passed in 1994, with the last major amendment passed in 2000. Since several years, the need for another major reform of the copyright system in Poland has been declared by a range of parties, including NGOs working in the field of digital rights and IPR reform.
In the recent months, Poland was one of the countries where the wave of anti-ACTA protests was the strongest, with protests taking place in over 50 cities and towns across the country – with the largest of them reaching the size of over 15 000 protesters. Alongside them, and unprecedented wave of online protest activity took place, with hundreds of thousands of people expressing their views, mainly through online petitions. Commentators have pointed out that in many places the last such protest took place in 1989, during the fall of Communism.
In response to the protests, the government – initially supportive of the ACTA agreeement – began a process of public debate on the issue, which culminated with a 7 hour long debate at the Chancellery of the Prime Minister on the 6th of February.
Centrum Cyfrowe has been the first Polish organization to publicly announce its proposal for changes in copyright law, calling on the government to begin a process of copyright reform. Our statement has been presented at a debate organized by the Prime Minister of Poland on the 6th of February. The current proposal is based on a general concept of the reform presented at that meeting.
On the 17th of February, the Prime Minister of Poland Donald Tusk has declared that Poland will not ratify ACTA, and promised to continue the debate on digital freedoms. Tusk has stated that a new, modern model is needed, one that will “regulate property rights, while at the same time protecting freedoms and the right to anonymity online”.
At the end of March, the Polish Ministry of Administration and Digital Affairs has announced a group of five taskforces formed by the Ministry will work on legislative reforms that are crucial for the growth of digital society in Poland. The first taskforce, dealing with intellectual property law, will be co-chaired by Helena Rymar, the Legal Counsel of Centrum Cyfrowe.
At the same time, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, responsible for copyright law in Poland, has formed its own taskforce of four legal experts, who are currently preparing their own proposal for copyright reform.