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An up-to-date national audiovisual policy, including copyright, is the aim of a new twinning project with Germany.

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Bulgaria/ 4.2 Specific policy issues and recent debates  

4.2.3 Cultural/creative industries: policies and programmes

In the past few years, the culture industries in Bulgaria have been increasingly perceived as a sector with an important contribution to local, regional and national development, and an impact on the local labour market.

However the national film industry relies on state subsidies, on the support by foundations, international organisations and private sponsors. Mainly co-productions with European countries are realised. The Executive Agency "National Film Centre" under the Ministry of Culture governs the allocation of state subsidies at competition basis. Main partner is the Bulgarian National Television, which sets aside a share of its annual budget to production of Bulgarian TV productions.

Support for co-productions is also attributed by the European fund "Eurimages" of which Bulgaria has been a member since 1992.

There are several private film distributing companies, three of which - Sunny Films, Alexandra Films and Duga Films - are the Bulgarian partners of the top seven international film distribution companies.

In the period 2001-2004 the Ministry's Books and Libraries Directorate (Former National Book Centre) promotes the publishing of non-commercial Bulgarian and translated literature. The Book Aid Programme (created in 1991) supports publishers of certain types of literature on a competitive basis: contemporary Bulgarian literature and literary heritage; Bulgarian human studies, reference works and encyclopaedias, and translated human studies literature. The Programme has supported 230 projects with a budget of BGL 412 707. There are partnership programmes with the French, German and British cultural institutes to support the publication of translated literature.

In 1995, the Open Society Institute (Budapest) launched a project supporting the translation of works in human studies and social sciences in Bulgaria. This ongoing project has provided support for the translation and publishing of 124 titles proposed by more than 40 publishing houses.

The activities of Next Page Foundation are based on the premise that equal access to knowledge and information is crucial for people's participation in shaping the societies they leave in, and for promoting intercultural understanding. The Foundation thus aims at supporting translations and the growth of independent private publishing in transitional and developing countries. Fro more information see:

Bulgaria's major recording companies have licensing contracts with international companies such as Sony, PolyGram, BMG and EMI, and exercise strict control over the copyright of authors, producers and performers.

In 2008 Twinning Project BG/07/IB/OT/01, "Strengthening the capacity of the Ministry of Culture for development and implementation of a national audio-visual policy, guaranteeing copyright" (co-funded by EU) started and continued to function in 2009. By the end of 2009, the key aims were achieved, in particular the promotion and  dissemination of the media legislative system adhering to the new Audiovisual Media Services Directive adopted by EU countries. Key recommendations were made concerning the Bulgarian legislative system that regulates copyright. Within the framework of the project, several training programmes, seminars and exchanges of good practice were organised, as well as the International Conference on Cultural Statistics' Issues organised with the support of the third sector (Observatory of Cultural Economics).

Cultural and creative industries concepts in Bulgaria

A Council of Europe funded pilot project on "Cultural Diversity and Cultural Enterprise" was launched in Bulgaria in 2001. This project - implemented in close co-operation with the Euro-Bulgarian Cultural Centre - was designed to analyse Bulgaria's potential in the sphere of culture industries and identify possibilities for their development. Stage two of this project (carried out in 2002) targeted media and entrepreneurship in this field.

Cultural industries include the traditional (radio and television, recording industry, film production and editing) as well as the cultural activities positioned at the edge of the arts and the new and flexible forms of creativity expression in media, advertising and design.

The development of culture industries at the regional and local level is also a priority in projects under the PHARE Economic and Social Integration Programme (education and establishment of information centres for the Roma population). In the period 2003-2004, 19 regional projects were implemented under PHARE (BG 0102.03) - "Development of Cultural Tourism in Bulgaria" with a total budget of 4 726 000 EUR.

In 2005, a research project entitled "The Creative Industries in Plovdiv - an Economic Perspective" was carried out with the support of the British Council and its goal was to map the creative industries in the town.

In 2006, a research project entitled "The Economic Contribution of Copyright-based Industries in Bulgaria" was assigned by the Ministry of Culture to a working group involving university lecturers and experts with the technical assistance of the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organisation).

This survey is the first comprehensive study of the contribution of copyright and related rights-based industries (copyright-based industries) to the Bulgarian economy and was conducted in the period August 2006 - February 2007 and published in 2007.

The collected CI economic data for 2003 and 2005 allows for additional specialised analyses of different segments of the copyright-based industries, including in-depth analyses of the most successful and rapidly developing sectors of software, publishing and printing, and film industries. This data is also a good basis for future comparisons on a national and international scale.

Table 2:     Contribution of the copyright-based industries to the GDP in 2005


Total in BGN

Share of total gross output

Share of GDP

Gross output of the core copyright industries

2 498 559 000



Total gross output created in economic activities related to copyright and related rights in Bulgaria

4 155 101 000



Total gross output

92 132 091 000



Added value of the core copyright industries

672 270 000



Added value created in economic activities related to copyright and related rights in Bulgaria

1 204 229 000



Total gross added value

35 220 410 000



Total GDP

42 797 407 000



For the period 2003-2005, the survey identified that the gross value added derived from the current prices index grew by 50% over three years only, which exceeded the growth rates of the economy as a whole (11.5%). If favourable conditions continued and the sector received adequate public support, it might become one of the engines of the Bulgarian economic development in near future.

Employment in the sector of copyright-based industries

In 2005, 104 814 people in Bulgaria were employed in economic activities related to copyright and related rights, almost one in every 20 people employed. 55 861 people worked in the core copyright-based industries only, i.e. more than half of the people employed in the sector.

A fast increase in the number of people employed in copyright-based industries is registered for the period 2003-2005. The growth rate exceeds more than three times the growth of employment in the economy as a whole.

Book publishing and print and Software and databases are the two largest core copyright-based industries - they both contributed 0.51% each to the gross value added in the country in 2005.

The second fastest developing sector is Software and databases - it registers growth of 93%. The third fast developing sector is Architecture which falls into the category of partial copyright-based industries. During the surveyed period, it showed a growth in value added by +81% taking into account the inflation, a growth in gross product by 23% and 16% of growth in employment.

The exported goods and services of the Publishing and printing industry amounted to between EUR 5.45 million and EUR 6.84 million a year for the period 2003-2005 while the imports grew steadily and the increase for 2005 only was 68%.

It is obvious that the first successes in the fight against intellectual piracy and the strengthening of the legislation in this field have resulted in a triple increase in payments made abroad while the income from rights and licenses in Bulgarian products of intellectual property remains at a constant level.

With the share of value added of the core copyright-based industries in 2003 equal to 1.3% of the GDP, Bulgaria ranks last among the 19 states that have conducted surveys applying this methodology (after Greece and Portugal).

Based on the project results, the following recommendations can be outlined:

  • strengthening the implementation of IPLaw, especially in distribution of protected items and services via Internet;
  • improving competences and knowledge in copyrights among the representatives of the legal system in Bulgaria, especially among the judges and prosecutors;
  • continuation of the public campaign against intellectual piracy;
  • support for the export of locally produced copyright industries products and services; and
  • measures to improve qualification levels among the employees and entrepreneurs in the copyright industries.

For more information on the research project entitled "The Economic Contribution of Copyright-based Industries in Bulgaria" please click here.

In 2007 the Ministry of Culture commissioned a National mapping of the creative industries which accomplishes the picture of the sector with data analysis from the six planning EU regions in Bulgaria, providing information about the clustering of activities and companies, relations with the public sector and support for small and micro enterprises.

Chapter published: 02-07-2018

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