Despite the statements, during the current term of office of the Sejm it was not possible to pass a law amending the fee for blank media. Therefore, filmmakers are demanding compensation from the state for the royalties due to them, for example, for the sale of blank CDs. We are talking about more than 400 million zlotys.
The topic is the so-called blank media fee, also known as the reprography fee. This fee must include compensation to artists for use of the works within the scope of permitted personal use. For example, a buyer of a CD may copy it to use multiple copies in different locations. The fee, as Rzeczpospolita reminds, applies to blank recordings, as well as other media that allow you to copy even legally acquired works. However, it does not apply to modern forms of copying, for example via smartphones. This was supposed to be regulated by a new law, which the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage had announced for several years, but ultimately it was not adopted during the current term of the Sejm, so the Association of Polish Cinematographers prepared a lawsuit covering the years 2020-2023. The amount of the claim filed by the organization is 416 million zlotys.
Payment for devices that are no longer in use
The newspaper recalls that the 2001 EU Directive on Copyright in the Information Society stipulates that filmmakers and producers should receive fair compensation for the use of their works within the scope of permitted personal use. However, creators and producers suffer losses and do not receive any income from exploitation produced for private use, which obviously reduces interest in the normal distribution of films.
A commonly used solution to provide compensation in this regard is small fees for devices and media that are most commonly used by consumers within their authorized use. Such fees for film authors and producers exist in Poland, but they are levied on devices and media that are used less and less often and are not available for sale. This includes, for example, cassettes, VHS and DVDs. In turn, currently popular devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops have remained outside the list of devices subject to the levy for many years.
The filmmakers have no doubt that we are dealing with a violation of EU law by the Polish state. This law provides that persons who have suffered damage as a result of a breach of EU law by a Member State have the right to claim compensation.
– Due to so many years of inaction, going to court has become necessary so that our creators receive due compensation – – says Jacek Bromski, president of the Association of Polish Cinematographers, as quoted by Rzeczpospolita.
According to Bromsky, the changes the filmmakers desired were not implemented due in large part to “predatory lobbying from international corporations and extreme populist voices from device manufacturers who constantly threatened proposed increases in device prices.”
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