Efforts are underway to harmonise the domestic regulations on intellectually property with international conventions. Authorities are looking at various international documents and recommendations to aid them in their work:
- WIPO Conventions and Recommendations;
- EU Directives; and
- recommendations of the AIPPI on how particular intellectual property matters are to be regulated.
The new Law on Copyright and Related Rights was adopted on December 11th 2009 (and amended in 2012). It regulates the object and the content of copyright and related rights, the organisation for collecting royalties generated from copyright and related rights, and sanctions for infringement. The Law extends copyright protection to any “original intellectual creation of an author, expressed in particular form, irrespective of its artistic, scientific or other value, its purpose, size, content and manner of expression, as well as the permission to publicly announce its content”. A non-exclusive list of objects is included within the scope of the Law: written works (books, pamphlets, articles, etc.); spoken works (lectures, speeches, orations, etc.); dramatic, dramatic-musical, choreographic and pantomime works; works originating from folklore; music works, with or without words; film works (cinematography and television works); fine art works (paintings, drawings, sketches, graphics, sculptures, etc.); architectural works; applied art and industrial design works.
The Law incorporated the changes connected to the WIPO and EU Conventions and TRIPS. The changes include the retroactive protection of the rights of interpreters and producers of phonographs, more detailed restrictions of the author’s rights, as well as more consistent implementation of number of EU directives. Due to the amendments in 2012, the work of collective societies, the process of changing tariffs as well controlling mechanism in collecting and distributing fees by copyright societies, are regulated more precise.
Alternative ways of regulating artists’ rights, like Creative Commons, are being slowly implemented in Serbia, mostly through young artists and the alternative art scene.
There are no blank tape levies in Serbia. Existing legislation does not recognise public lending rights. Due to the difficult economic situation, there are no possibilities to cover these expenses by users, libraries, video rentals or by the government.
During 2009 and 2010, very intensive media campaigns by SOKOJ (Organisation of Music Authors of Serbia) and PI (Rights of Interpreters) raised the issue of respect for the Law on Copyright and Related Rights. The disputes between SOKOJ and PI on one side, and the representatives of mostly small and middle sized companies, and especially small entrepreneurs, resulted in the compromise in 2012, mediated by the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Finance, of the new scale, prices, and methodologies of calculating fees for the use of music. Small entrepreneurs, such as hairdressers and shoemakers, are exempt from paying the fees for playing music (usually radio), in their shops. The US Embassy was very prominent in this period, lobbying the Serbian Government to put more effort into the fight against piracy, especially concerning the software industry, as some of the largest US software companies have branches in Serbia. On the other hand, Serbia is increasingly a part of the globalised world, which still does not have a clear answer to new technologies that are allowing free access to any product of the creative industries from anywhere in the world.