The Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act (1993) protects a maximum range of copyright and neighbouring rights. In 1995, the Parliament ratified the Rome Convention and the Geneva Convention.
On 25 July 2002, the 39th National Assembly passed an Act to amend the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act, which brings Bulgarian legislation in line with its commitments regarding international agreements with the World Intellectual Property Organisation and the World Trade Organisation Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).
Articles in Bulgaria’s Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act supplement and adjust the legal framework to include provisions on the fair use of works online and the introduction of new technologies. The purpose was to adjust copyright protection to the new environment and harmonise certain aspects related to regulations on the right to reproduce and distribute works via the Internet.
Legal protection is also provided to database producers. Producers are granted special rights on the original selection or arrangement of the database for a period of fifteen years. Special attention is also paid to organisations for collective copyright management. They have been assigned an increasing role in guaranteeing the observance and protection of copyright and neighbouring rights. Under Article 26 of the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act, royalties on recordings for personal use are payable to the organisations representing the different categories of copyright holders under the Act. Such organisations are also authorised to represent members in disputes of civil law.
According to the Ordinance Establishing a Procedure and Terms for the Allocation of Funds from Fines Collected under Article 97 of the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act, adopted by the Council of Ministers in 2002, 50% of the collected fines (for violating copyright) are transferred to the bank account of the Culture National Fund, and the remaining 50% to the Ministry of Culture budget. They are to be used for copyright protection.
By the end of 2005, some very important legislative acts, in the protection of the rights on intellectual property, were initiated by the Ministry of Culture and passed by the Parliament.
The Act to Amend and Supplement the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act was adopted. Thus, the regulation of two new directives of the European Union was incorporated into Bulgarian legislation, namely:
• Directive 2001/84/ЕU dated 27.09.2001, related to the right to resell original art works; and
• Directive 2004/48/ЕU dated 29.04.2004, related to implementation of rights regarding intellectual property.
The legislative changes also regulate, and in much more detail, the procedures for the legal administrative powers of those authorities within the Ministry of Culture, which are responsible for monitoring compliance in this field. The new legislation also increases the fines which are applicable for any violations.
The transposed directives entered into force with the accession of Bulgaria to the EU in 2007.
In September 2005, the Act on Administrative Control on the Production and Trading of Optical Disks, Matrixes and Other Storage Media Containing Copies or Objectives of the Copy and Neighbouring Rights was introduced. The law envisages clear and accurately written orders and conditions for obtaining the respective registration or licensing permission, as well as a very detailed mechanism for control, prevention and sanctions, which guarantees conformity with the law, both in execution, by the state bodies, of activities for the administration of these regimes, and in implementation of the regulated business activates.
As an EU Member State, Bulgaria is obliged to transpose into its national legislation the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. The deadline for this task is March 2021.