The Copyright and Related Rights Act of4 February 1994, and amendments adopted on 9 June 2000 in order to make the Act compatible with EU law, are the basic Polish legal acts on the Protection of Copyright and Related Rights. Some of the main areas of change were:
- cancellation of computer amnesty;
- introducing regulations to prohibit the removal of technical security devices installed in computer programmes;
- adoption of new terminology used to designate the rights of authors, artistic performers and producers;
- increase in the number of people entitled to remuneration generated by rental rights;
- granting broadcasters neighbouring rights;
- introduction of statutory definitions for some institutions;
- extension of the period of copyright protection to 70 years and a new model to count the period of protection;
- new levels of protection for phonograms and artistic performances realised before 1974; and
- special protection for works which have not been published during the defined protection period, so called posthumous publishing or critical and scientific publishing, which are already in the public domain.
The Copyright and Related Rights Act provides the legal basis to levy fees on blank tapes and copying / reprographic machines. Payments to producers of blank tapes, records, video and other similar machines amounted to 3% of the net price. Fees are distributed according to the following scheme:
- creators receive up to 50% of the total amount of all fees;
- artists and performers receive up to 25% of the total amount of all fees; and
- producers of phonograms and videograms receive ca. 25% of the total amount of fees.
The payments / fees for producers and importers of copy machines equal 1% of the net price.
There is no public lending rights scheme in Poland.
In 2000, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage established a special group called the Team for Counteracting Infringements of Copyright and Related Rights. Since 2001 the document entitled the Report on the protection of copyright and related rights in Poland is prepared by members of the Team twice a year. The 2005 report indicates a need for further work on adapting Polish regulations related to the protection of intellectual property to EU law. The main problems mentioned in the report are the pirated audiovisual media trade (based in the marketplaces across the country) and infringement of copyright in the use of internet and new technologies. The scale of production of illegal music and film recordings on CDs and DVDs is still very significant but it has decreased in recent years. At the same time, web piracy became a crime of increasing importance. Fast development of modern technologies of sound and visual content compression (MP3, MPEG, DivX etc.) enlarges the size of the pirate’s market offer. This is one of the most problematic issues in the entertainment business to be faced by Polish public servants in the near future. The 2009 report has highlighted the decrease in demand and supply of illegal music and films recorded on CDs and DVDs as well as the number of sellers and the number of pirated and counterfeit goods. The government launched the Programme for the protection of copyright and related rights in Poland for the years 2008 – 2010 which has the strategic goal to increase efficiency and effectiveness of governmental services in fighting piracy. It is implemented through, inter alia, the organisation of conferences and education processes.
The document previously entitled the Strategy of action for the protection of intellectual property rights in Poland was prepared every year from 2003-2008 and adopted by the Committee of the Council of Ministers and after its acceptance, by the Prime Minister. In 2008, the Team decided that the Strategy would be prepared every three years. Currently, the full title of the document is the Programme for the protection of copyright and related rights in Poland.
In recent years, the Copyright Laws have been a topic of wide debate. Several reforms of the copyright system in Poland had been elaborated and some actions undertaken to harmonise the law with the European Commission recommendations and directives (e.g. the one from 18th October 2005 concerning the cross-border copyright management of on-line musical services). However, technology always develops faster than law, thus the Polish copyright system is still not efficient in its struggle against the illegal use of intellectual property and artistic content.
In 2010, Poland was taken off the Watch List – the list of countries where the levels of crime against the rights of intellectual property are particularly high.