A draft law on amending the Copyright and Related Rights Law aims to harmonize rights of owners and users.
5.1.7 Copyright provisions
The state policy in the field of copyright and related rights is implemented by the Ministry of Culture, which co-ordinates protection of the above rights in line with its competence. Copyright of Lithuanian and foreign authors is administered by the agency for Lithuanian Author's Copyright Protection Association (LATGA-A) founded in 1991.
The Law on Authors and Related Rights was adopted in 1999. It defines the system of protection and monitoring of authors and neighbouring rights and the responsibilities of respective institutions. The Law on Authors and Related Rights complies with the requirements of international law and ensures such protection of performers and producers of phonograms as are in effect in other European states. In 2000, the government approved the Copyright and Related Rights Protection Strategy covering a variety of measures of administration of those rights, financing, and co-operation between state institutions.
In 1998, Lithuania ratified the Rome Convention on the protection of performers, phonogram producers and broadcasting organisations. The Convention on the Protection of Phonogram Producers against Illegal Copying of their Phonograms was ratified by Lithuania in 1999. Lithuania ratified the Bern Convention in 1996, the Rome Convention in 1998, and the Geneva Convention in 1999. It is a member of WIPO.
In 1999, the Association of Rights Related to Copyright (AGATA) was established with a view to administering the related rights of performers and producers of phonograms.
The sale of blank audio and videotapes remains tax-free.
On 12 October 2006, the Lithuanian Parliament adopted amendments to the Act on Copyright and Related Rights which entered into force on 31 October 2006. These amendments are crucially important for Lithuania's audiovisual sector and are particularly required for the regulation of copyright and related rights in the presentation of the audiovisual works via new media services, e.g. mobile phones, internet, etc.. There have been some instances in Lithuania, where an entire programme or a part of it was broadcast on the Internet in exchange for payment without the consent of, or agreement with, the broadcaster. The act was amended with the aim of harmonising its provisions with EU requirements, namely the Directive 2001/84/EC on resale rights and Directive 2004/48/EC on enforcement of intellectual property rights.
The amended provisions of the act provide that the authors, the co-authors of audiovisual works as well as the performers retain the irrevocable right of remuneration for the rental of their audiovisual works, phonograms or copies thereof. The remuneration is to be paid by natural or legal persons to whom the right to rent audiovisual works, phonograms or their copies has been transferred or granted. Usually this right is secured through the work of collective societies.
The new amendments lay down the rules for the distribution of recordings of broadcasts after the first sale or other kinds of transfer of the ownership rights of the broadcast recordings. The new provisions of the Law foresees that the exclusive right to distribute recordings of broadcasts or their copies is exhausted in the territory of the European Economic Area in respect of those recordings or copies, which are sold by the broadcaster or its successor in title, or under the authorisation of any of these, and which are lawfully released into circulation in the territory of the European Economic Area.
Amendments were also made in Chapter VI of the law regarding the enforcement of copyright, related rights and sui generis rights. The amended provisions explicitly provide that not only the owners of these rights, but also the holders of exclusive licenses and collective administration institutions, are entitled to bring a claim before the court in order to protect their rights.
The law was also supplemented with a new provision regarding an author's non-property rights to computer programmes and electronic data. The provision provides that the above mentioned rights may not be used in such a way as to unreasonably constrain a holder's property rights to computer programmes and data, including the right to adapt, change and distribute these works.
For the purpose of protecting the author's interests, the Law provides that any action by a person, holding the author's economic rights, shall not violate the author's dignity and reputation.
In 2009, there were several copyright administration agencies in Lithuania:
The Ministry of Culture, according to the government programme for the year 2008 - 2012, prepared a draft law on supplementing and adjusting the Copyright and Related Rights Law (2010). It aims to harmonise rights' of owners and the users of creative products, to enable disabled people, creators of educational programmes, archives, libraries and museums, without permission of the copyright owner, to reproduce and publish products for non-commercial use.