Payment of Royalties for Use of Work and Objects of Neighbouring Rights in the Provisions of “Anti-Crisis Shield 1”
7 April 2020
On 31 March 2020, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna (The Law Gazette Daily) published an article entitled "Epidemia koronawirusa: Firmy nie zapłacą artystom. Problem w tym, że przepisy są niejasne” (Coronavirus Epidemics: Companies Will Not Pay Artists. Problems Caused by Unclear Provisions”). The gazette presented a commentary by Janusz Piotr Kolczyński, attorney-at-law and managing partner of C.R.O.P.A. Legal Counsellors Law Firm with respect to the Act of 31 March 2020 Amending the Act on Special Measures Related to the Prevention, Counteracting and Control of COVID-19 adopted by the Parliament.
In the aforementioned article, Att. Kolczyński drew attention to the lack of precision in the new act within the scope of exemption from authors’ fees.
Let us remind that the act passed by the Sejm exempts certain service recipients from the obligation of paying royalties for the use of works and objects of neighbouring rights if they concluded an agreement with a royalty collection and distribution society or an equivalent organisation which features fixed royalty rates, i.e. independent from revenues.
The new provision of Art. 15 l of the aforementioned act allows for “suspension” of payments by service recipients during the epidemics. At the stage of adopting the bill, the Senate tried to limit the aforementioned provision only to public performance i.e. excluding broadcast and re-broadcast (form No. 96z), yet the Sejm rejected this proposal without a thorough reflection. A situation emerged which, according to Att. Kolczyński, may deprive some artists of royalties due to them for broadcast or re-broadcast of works or objects of neighbouring rights, e.g. on television.