4. Law and legislation
Last update: May, 2022
Several articles of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania (1992) are related to culture, cultural and natural heritage, rights of ethnic communities, the state language and freedom of expression.
Article 14: Lithuanian shall be the State language.
Article 25: Individuals shall have the right to have their own convictions and freely express them. Individuals must not be hindered from seeking, obtaining, or disseminating information or ideas.
Freedom to express convictions, as well as to obtain and disseminate information, may not be restricted in any way other than as established by law, when it is necessary for the safeguarding of the health, honour and dignity, private life, or morals of a person, or for the protection of constitutional order.
Freedom to express convictions or impart information shall be incompatible with criminal actions the instigation of national, racial, religious, or social hatred, violence, or discrimination, the dissemination of slander, or misinformation.
Citizens shall have the right to obtain any available information which concerns them from State agencies in the manner established by law.
Article 37: Citizens who belong to ethnic communities shall have the right to foster their language, culture, and customs.
Article 42: Culture, science, research and teaching shall be unrestricted. The state shall support culture and science, and shall ensure protection of monuments of Lithuania's history and art as well as of other cultural monuments and treasures. The law shall safeguard and protect the spiritual and material interests of authors relating to scientific, technical, cultural, and artistic work.
Article 44: Censorship of mass media shall be prohibited. The State, political parties, political and public organisations, and other institutions or persons may not monopolise means of mass media.
Article 45: Ethnic communities of citizens shall independently manage the affairs of their ethnic culture, education, charity, and mutual assistance. Ethnic communities shall be provided support by the state.
Article 47: The right of ownership of entrails of the earth, as well as nationally significant internal waters, forests, parks, roads, and historical, archaeological and cultural facilities shall exclusively belong to the Republic of Lithuania.
Article 54: The State shall concern itself with the protection of the natural environment, its fauna and flora, separate objects of nature and particularly valuable districts, and shall supervise the moderate utilization of natural resources as well as their restoration and augmentation. The exhaustion of land and entrails of the earth, the pollution of waters and air, the production of radioactive impact, as well as the impoverishment of fauna and flora, shall be prohibited by law.
Last update: May, 2022
The Law on the Budget Structure (1990) (last edition in 2021) defines the contents of the state budget and municipal budgets of the Republic of Lithuania; establishes the legal grounds for the formation of revenue of these budgets and use of appropriations; also the basic provisions of and procedures for the drawing up, approving, implementing, assessing and controlling the budgets; and the duties, rights and responsibility of appropriation managers. According to the Law, 10 national cultural institutions (the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre, the National Kaunas Drama Theatre, the Lithuanian National Philharmonic Hall, the National Museum of Lithuania, the Lithuanian Art Museum, the Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis National Art Museum, the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania, and the Lithuanian National Radio and Television are funded directly by the Seimas with a separate line in the state budget and they are appropriations managers. The following departments and organisations are financed in the same way: the Ministry of Culture, the Office of the Inspector of Journalist Ethics, the Radio and Television Commission, the National Broadcasting Company, the Press, Radio and Television Support Foundation, the National Commission for Cultural Heritage, the State Commission on the Lithuanian Language, and the Council for the Protection of Ethnic Culture (see Figure 1 in chapter 1.2.1). Other cultural institutions are funded through the Ministry of Culture, and/or municipalities.
The Law on the Approval of Financial Indicators of the State Budget and Municipal Budgets is adopted every year, defining the distribution of the state budget and transfers to municipal budgets for the corresponding year.
Cultural programmes are funded by the Press, Radio and Television Support Foundation, the Lithuanian Council for Culture, the Film Centre, and the Lithuanian Culture institute. Financial sources and mechanisms of these institutions are regulated by laws listed below.
The biggest share of public funds for cultural projects is distributed by the Lithuanian Council for Culture. The Law on the Council for Lithuanian Culture (2012) (last edition in 2021) defines the status, financing, operational objectives, functions and organisation of activities of the Lithuanian Council for Culture. The functions of the Council are to finance culture and art programmes, projects, and other measures, award individual grants to artists, and to perform culture and arts research. The share of funds allocated for the implementation of cultural and artistic research, administration of the activities of the Council and other expenses related to the activities of the Council may not exceed 10 per cent of the budget of the Council for the current year (see chapters 1.1 and 1.2.2 for more about the Council).
The Law on Cinema (2002) (last edition in 2019) establishes the sources of funding for cinema. According to the Law, cinema shall be funded from the following sources: 1) State budget funds, taking into consideration the programmes prepared by the Lithuanian Film Centre; and 2) 60% of the actual income from value added tax for distribution and exhibition of films in cinema theatres of the previous year. The amount shall be calculated in accordance with the data published by the Lithuanian Department of Statistics; 3) income received by the state under licensing agreements for the granted copyright and related property rights of audiovisual works at the disposal of the Lithuanian Cinema Centre; 4) 10% per cent of the previous year's actual revenue from value added tax paid by Internet service providers; 5) targeted state funding for cinema, which is allocated by the Government for the performance of a state order; and 6) returned or recovered finance after the termination of the cinema state financing agreement concluded with the legal or natural person by the Lithuanian Film Centre. The Law on the Provision of Information to the Public (1996) (last edition in 2021) establishes the sources of funding of the Press, Radio and Television Support Foundation: 1) state grants (subsidies); 2) funds contributed by legal or natural persons; 3) interest on the funds of the Foundation kept in banks; and 4) other lawfully acquired funds.
Last update: May, 2022
The Law on State Social Insurance (1991) (last edition in 2021) establishes the basis for state social insurance relations: types of state social insurance, categories of the persons covered by state social insurance, principles and structure of the state social insurance management system, and rights, duties and responsibility of entities thereof. The types of state social insurance are as follows: 1) pension social insurance; 2) sickness and maternity social insurance; 3) unemployment social insurance; and 4) social insurance of occupational accidents and occupational diseases. Social insurance contributions are calculated on the aggregate amount of remuneration as calculated for every insured person, which may not be less than the minimum monthly wage, and on the compensatory or incentive benefits related to employment relations, the income received from sports activities, from performing activities and/or the income received under copyright agreements, regardless of the sources of payment. The rates of social insurance contributions and amounts (portions) thereof for different types of social insurance are approved each year by the Law on the Approval of Indicators of the State Social Insurance Fund Budget. In 2022, the contributions rates were as follows: 1) pension social insurance of 8.72, 10.52, or 11.72 per cents depending on the insurance form chosen, 2) sickness and maternity social insurance of 1.99 and 1.81 per cent respectively, 3) unemployment social insurance of 1.31 per cent (paid by insurer), and 4) social insurance of occupational accidents and occupational diseases of 0.14 (paid by insurer).
According to Article 6 of the Law on State Social Insurance, working age persons, who have the status of artists, are insured with the pension, health, and maternity social insurance from the minimum monthly salary approved by the Government if they do not have insured income. Persons of working age with the status of an artist whose insured income during a calendar year is less than the amount of the 12 minimum monthly salaries approved by the Government for the respective year are insured by paying the missing amount of social insurance contributions up to 12 minimum monthly salaries approved by the Government. When insuring with state funds, social insurance contributions are paid by the manager of state budget appropriations according to the approved rates of the policyholder and the insured. Article 10 of the Law provides that the base of social insurance contributions of insured persons having the status of artist shall consist of 50 per cent of the income received under copyright agreements.
The Law on Health Insurance (1996) (last edition in 2020) establishes different types of health insurance and a compulsory health insurance system. According to Article 17 of the Law, persons receiving income under copyright contracts and income from sports activities or performer activities, except for persons who engage in relevant individual activities, pay compulsory health insurance contributions in the amount of 6.98 per cent of the income on the basis of which social insurance contributions are calculated. For persons having the status of artist, who do not receive income under copyright contracts, compulsory health insurance contributions are paid by the state budget appropriations manager defined in the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on the Approval of Financial Indicators of the State Budget and Municipal Budgets for an Appropriate Year in the manner prescribed by the Government under the Programme of Social Protection of Arts Creators. Such contributions shall amount to 6.98 per cent of the minimum monthly earnings effective on the last day of the month for which the contribution is being paid.
The status of artists and the social security programme for artists as well as the administration procedure thereof are regulated by the Law on the Status of Artists and Artists’ Organisations (1996) (last edition in 2019), and the Republic of Lithuania Government Resolution No. 316 of 16 March 2011 On the Social Security Programme for Artists. (last edited in 2022). The Law on the Status of Artists and Artists’ Organisations regulates provisions to obtain the professional status of artists. Article 11 of the Law determines state support for artists from the Social Security Programme, approved by the government in 2011. One of the purposes of the Social Security Programme for Artists is to allocate creative idle time payments for artists. Creative idle time means a period of time when an artist of working age, for objective reasons beyond his/her control, temporarily has no conditions for the creation of art and (or) dissemination of results thereof and receives no income from creative, individual or labour-related activity. Creative idle time payment is a payment in the amount of a minimal monthly wage which is paid to the artist from the Programme budget during the period of creative idle time in accordance with the procedure provided for by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania (see chapter 2.3 for more about the status of artists).
The Law on Professional Performing Arts (2004) (last edition in 2021) provides legal provisions for social security coverage for personnel working in state performing arts institutions (Article 15).
Last update: May, 2022
The Law on Corporate Income Tax (2001) (last edition 2021) establishes the procedure for imposing corporate income tax on profits earned and/or income received. According to the Law, the applied tax rate is 15 per cent of the taxable profits of Lithuanian entities and permanent establishments. The Law was amended in 2013 by adding Article 172 and in 2018 by extending the period relating to Article 172 until 2023. The Article states that in calculating corporate income tax, funds granted free of charge to a Lithuanian filmmaker during the period from 1 January 2019 until 31 December 2023 for the production of a film or a part thereof in the Republic of Lithuania may be deducted from taxable income where: 1) the film meets the criteria for a cultural content and production assessment established by the Government of the Republic of Lithuania or an institution authorised by it, and 2) at least 80% of all the expenses of production of the film or a part thereof are incurred in the Republic of Lithuania and the expenses incurred in the Republic of Lithuania, regardless of the expenses specified in paragraph 3 of this Article, comprise at least EUR 43 000, and 3) the total amount of funds granted by all Lithuanian entities or foreign entities through their permanent establishment in the Republic of Lithuania does not exceed 30% of all the expenses of production of the film or a part thereof (more about this tax incentive see chapter 7.3).
The Law on Corporate Income Tax also foresees corporate income tax relief for non-profit organisations. For non-profit units whose taxable income from economic commercial activities does not exceed EUR 300 000, taxable income corresponding to the amount of EUR 7 250 is taxed at the 0 per cent tax rate and the remainder at the 15 per cent tax rate. Income from the economic activities of a non-profit unit, which is directly awarded to the financing of activities in the public interest, shall be excluded.
Article 28 of the Law on Corporate Income Tax provides for the regulation of sponsorship. According to the article, taxpayers who are entitled to provide sponsorship under the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on Charity and Sponsorship shall be allowed to deduct from their income two times the payments made, including assets transferred and services rendered, which are intended for sponsorship in accordance with the procedure laid down in the Law of the Republic of Lithuania on Charity and Sponsorship.
The Law on Charity and Sponsorship (1993) (last edition 2020) establishes the framework for providing and receiving charity and sponsorship. According to Article 9 of the Law, natural persons can transfer an amount not exceeding 1.2% of the income tax payable on the basis of an annual income tax return to Lithuanian entities that are entitled to charitable donations and sponsorship. Recipients of sponsorship may be charitable and sponsorship funds; budget financed institutions; associations; public organisations; artists registered as beneficiaries in the Information System of Artist's and Artist's Organizations maintained by the Ministry of Culture.
The Law on Personal Income Tax (2002) (last edited in 2022) establishes the procedure for levying income tax on individuals. The tax rate of personal income received from an employment relationship is 20 per cent if individual income does not exceed the sum of 60 average wages. Income above that sum is taxed at 32 per cent rate. The tax rate of self-employed persons that have a certificate of self-employment is 15 per cent. Royalties are also taxed at 15 per cent. According to Article 34 of the Law, after the end of the tax period, the tax administrator must, at the request of a resident of Lithuania transfer to Lithuanian entities that are entitled to charitable donations and sponsorship under the Law on Charity and Sponsorship an amount not exceeding 1.2 per cent of the income tax payable on the basis of an annual income tax return.
The Law on Value Added Tax (2002) (last edition in 2021) establishes the guidlines for value added tax (VAT) and the obligations of taxable persons, VAT payers and other persons incidental to the payment of the tax. According to the law, the standard VAT rate is 21 per cent. Article 19 of the Law sets a reduced VAT rate of 9 per cent for books and non-periodical publications. The same reduced VAT rate is applied to accommodation in hotels and other special accommodation services supplied according to the procedure laid down in the legal acts regulating tourist activities. The reduced VAT of 5 per cent is applied to newspapers and periodicals, except for publications publicising eroticism and violence, which have been recognised as such by an institution authorised by legal acts and for printed matter, 4/5 of which is devoted to paid advertising.
Article 23 of the Law states that cultural services supplied by non-profit making legal persons shall be exempt from VAT. Cultural services are defined as the following activities: 1) activities of museums, zoological and botanical gardens, circuses; 2) cultural events of all kinds (theatre performances, choreographic performances, cultural events for children and young people, art exhibitions and exhibitions of folk art, etc.), film production (including ancillary activities - dubbing, subtitling, etc.), film rent and presentation; 3) services in the field of bibliography and information supplied by libraries. Article 26 states that supply to the public of public information services by non-profit making legal persons - radio and/or television broadcasters shall be exempt from VAT. However, this provision is not applicable to the sale of broadcasts, advertising services and other commercial activities.
The Law on Patronage (2018) lays down requirements for national patrons, municipal patrons, criteria and essential conditions for patronage projects, areas where these projects can be carried out, recognition of the project as subject to patronage, awarding of the title of national and municipal patron, awarding of the sign of national and municipal patron, and the procedure of the memorialisation and the loss of the title of patron.
Last update: May, 2022
The main labour law in Lithuania is the Labour Code of the Republic of Lithuania, which entered into force on 1 July 2017. This Code replaced the previous one that was in force from 2002 to 2017. The Labour Code regulates the individual employment relations that arise upon concluding an employment contract in accordance with the procedure established by the Code. The Code shall also regulate social relations related to individual employment relations (relations prior to the conclusion and after termination of an employment contract, collective labour relations, relations which arise in settling disputes between participants in labour relations, relations related to observation and supervision of the law, etc.).
Many artists in Lithuania are self-employed. There are two types of self–employment: with a business certificate or a certificate of self-employment. The rules of these activities and their taxes are set up by the Republic of Lithuania Law on Personal Income Tax (2002).
A business certificate is a document certifying that a person has paid a fixed fee for a business certificate and has the right to perform the activities indicated for a certain period of time. Business certificates are issued only for certain types of activities. By acquiring a business certificate an advance payment of a fixed income tax is required.
A self-employment certificate is a document certifying that a person has registered his activities at the local State Tax Inspectorate and is entitled to perform the activities indicated in the certificate. When independent activities are performed under a self-employment certificate, the income tax is paid from the actual annual income from individual activities. When calculating the taxable income from the earned revenues, it is possible to deduct allowable deductions (costs incurred for earning revenues). When a simplified procedure is applied, a fixed amount can be considered as allowable deductions, for example 30% from all the revenues gained from independent activities. At the end of the year, persons declare their revenues and pay the established taxes. A person performing individual activities under a self-employment certificate must fill in the Income and Expenditure Accounting Register and issue one of the accounting documents: a receipt for the goods (services) bought or sold, an invoice, a VAT invoice, or a cash register receipt. Detailed information is specified in the Rules of Accounting of Residents’ Individual Activities (except for residents holding business certificates).
Last update: May, 2022
The protection of copyright and related rights is regulated by the Law on Copyright and Related Rights (1999) (last edition 2021). The Law is harmonised with International and European Union legal acts. The Law defines authors’ economic and moral rights, establishes the objects and subjects of copyright and related rights, terms of protection of copyright and related rights, and functions of collective administration association supervision by the Ministry of Culture. The liability for breach of copyright and related rights is established by the Criminal Code of the Republic of Lithuania, Article XXIX “Crimes against Intellectual and Industrial Property and the Administrative Code of the Republic of Lithuania”, Article 214¹º.
In 2006, the Lithuanian Parliament adopted amendments to the Law on Copyright and Related Rights. These amendments were required for the regulation of copyright and related rights in the presentation of audiovisual works via new media services, e. g. mobile phones, internet, etc. The amendments were made with the aim of harmonising its provisions with EU requirements, namely Directive 2001/84/EC on resale rights and Directive 2004/48/EC on enforcement of intellectual property rights. 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 broadcast recordings. The new provision 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. 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.
A major role in copyright and related rights' protection is played by the collective administration of these rights, performed by the subjects of the copyright and related rights on the basis of voluntary membership in non-profit organisations. The Lithuanian and foreign copyright in Lithuania is collectively administered by the Association LATGA established in 1991 and the music copyright association NATA established in 2012. The collective administration of the performers and phonogram producers’ rights is performed by the Lithuanian Related Rights Association AGATA that was established in 1999. At the initiative of the performers and phonogram producers, the related rights association GRETA was established in 2013. The rights of the owners of audiovisual works are administered by the Association of Audiovisual Works Copyright AVAKA established in 2008.
Last update: May, 2022
The Law on Legal Protection of Personal Data (1996) (last edition 2021) aims to protect fundamental human rights and freedoms, in particular the right to the protection of personal data, and to ensure a high level of protection of personal data. The Law lays down the principles of personal data processing, the legal status and powers of the State Data Protection Inspectorate, the powers of the Inspector of Ethics of Journalists, the procedure of the investigation of the violations of personal data and privacy laws, and the imposition of administrative fines by the State Data Protection Inspectorate.
A new edition of the Law was passed in 2018. It was brought into line with Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation).
The fifth part of Article 20 of the Law on Documents and Archives (1995) (last edition in 2020) determines fixed restrictions on access to the documents which contain information on a person’s private life, as well as to structured sets of personal data – 30 years after the person’s death, and in the event of failure to determine the date of death – for a term of 100 years from her/his birth. If neither the date of birth nor the date of death of a person is determined, the access shall be limited for a term of 70 years, counting from the creation of the documents.
Last update: May, 2022
Article 14 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania establishes Lithuanian as the state language.
The Law on the State Language (1995) (last edition in 2002) regulates the use of the state language in the public life of Lithuania, protection and control of the state language, and responsibility for violations of the Law on the State Language. The Law does not apply to the unofficial communication of the population and the language of events of religious communities as well as persons belonging to ethnic communities.
The Law on the State Language Inspectorate (2001) (last edition in 2016) establishes the objectives, functions, organisation and procedure of work of the State inspectorate of Language, as well as the rights, duties and responsibilities of the employees of the Inspectorate.
The Law on the State Commission of the Lithuanian Language (1993) (last edition in 2016) establishes the Commission as the state institution which shall be founded, reorganised and abolished by the Seimas. The Law also sets up the composition and procedure of formation of the Language Commission, as well as its tasks, operating principles and rights.
Last update: May, 2022
In Lithuania, most cultural organisations have the legal forms of budgetary institution, public institution or association and their activities are regulated by the respective laws.
The Law on Budgetary Institutions (1995) (last edition in 2020) regulates the establishment, restructuring, liquidation, operation and management of budgetary institutions. A budgetary institution is defined in the Law as a public legal entity with limited civil liability, which performs state or municipal functions and is maintained from the appropriations of the state or municipal budgets, as well as from the budgets of the State Social Insurance Fund, Compulsory Health Insurance Fund and other state monetary funds. Many Lithuanian cultural organisations, such as theatres or museums owned by the state or municipalities, have the legal form of budgetary organisations.
The Law on Associations (2004) (last edition in 2021) regulates the formation, management, activities, specific features of restructuring and termination (reorganisation and liquidation) of legal persons whose legal form is an association. The association is defined in the Law as a public legal person of limited civil liability which has its name and whose purpose is to coordinate the activities of the association members, to represent interests of the association members and to defend them or to meet other public interests. An association may include one of the following words in its name: “association”, “public organisation”, “confederation”, “union”, “society” or other. Many professional organisations of Lithuanian artists have the legal form of association.
The Law on Public Institutions (1996) (last edition in 2021) establishes the procedure of founding, management, operation, reorganisation, and liquidation of public institutions. A public institution is defined by the Law as a non-profit organisation, founded according to the procedure established by the Law from the assets of partners (owner) engaged in social, educational, scientific, cultural, sport or any other analogous activities that are accessible to the members of the community as regards the services it provides. A non-profit organisation is an entity possessing the rights of a legal person which has been set up in accordance with the procedure established by law and has a non-profit purpose of activities. Its profit cannot be distributed to its founders, members, or partners (owner).
The Law on Charity and Sponsorship Funds (1996) (last edition in 2021) regulates the establishment, management, activities, reorganisation and liquidation of charity and sponsorship Funds. The Fund is defined by the Law as a non-profit organisation without a membership and with the purpose of activities related to the dispensing of charity or (and) sponsoring in the fields of science, culture, education, art, religion, sports, health care, social care and assistance, and environmental protection (and other areas specified in the Law on Charity and Sponsorship).
The Law on Centres for Culture (2004) (last edition in 2019) establishes the founding, reorganisation, liquidation, management, activities, classification, and financing, as well as other relations pertaining to activities of centres for culture.
Last update: May, 2022
Political documents setting out cultural policy frameworks or declarations of principle
In 2019, the Lithuanian Government adopted the Lithuanian Cultural Policy Strategy (Lietuvos kultūros politikos strategija) for a period of 10 years. This is the first long term comprehensive strategy adopted since the restoration of the independence of Lithuania in 1990. The strategy is based on empirical data, situation analysis and expert's evaluation of the current situation. It formulates core values and sets strategic directions, goals, and tasks of cultural policy (see chapter 1.1 for more information).
In 2019, the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture prepared a draft of a new Law on Culture (Kutūros pagrindų įstatymas) that aims “to establish the general principles of cultural policy, the competence of the main cultural policy making and implementing institutions, the principles of cultural financing, the system of state cultural institutions, the status of national cultural institutions and centres of excellence, the status of artists and cultural workers, the principles of awarding of state cultural and artistic prizes, and the relationship between state and municipal institutions in implementation of cultural policy”. The draft law is currently under consideration in the Seimas.
Until the adoption of the above-mentioned strategy, the main strategic documents of Lithuanian cultural policy were the Lithuanian Cultural Policy Change Guidelines adopted in 2010 by the Lithuanian Parliament and Provisions on Lithuanian Cultural Policy (Lietuvos kultūros politikos nuostatos) adopted in 2001 by the Lithuanian Government (see chapter 1.1 for more information).
Laws establishing the scope, operation(s), governing structure(s) and procedures for funding cultural institutions
The Law on the Council for Lithuanian Culture (2012) (last edited in 2021) establishes the status, goals and functions of the Council and its general operating principles. The Law defines the Council as being a budget-financed institution under the Ministry of Culture and its main function is to finance culture and art programmes, distribute grants and other types of support to culture and for professionals, and monitor culture and art projects that are under implementation. The law was changed in 2021, as the Government decided to abolish the Culture Support Fund that had been administered by the Lithuanian Council for Culture (see chapter 2.1).
TheLaw on Cinema (2002) (last edited in 2019) establishes the principles of state governance and funding of film, the procedures of the distribution, screening and presentation of movies through electronic communications channels and the regulation of the protection of cinematic heritage. In 2011, the amendments to the Law on Cinema included an article on the establishment of the Film Centre, a budget organisation under the Ministry of Culture. Since 2013, this institution implements Lithuanian film policy and provides funding for development and production of national films.
Laws relating to broadcasting and its regulation
TheLaw on the Provision of Information to the Public (1996) (last edition in 2021) sets up the procedures for collecting, preparing, publishing and disseminating of public information and establishes the rights, obligations and responsibilities of producers, the media, journalists and institutions that regulate their activity, as well as the operating principles of the Press, Radio and Television Support Foundation.
The Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information (2002) (last edition in 2021) establishes the criteria of the public information that has a detrimental effect on the physical, mental and moral development of minors, the procedure of its publication and dissemination, and the rights, duties and liability of the producers, disseminators and owners of such information, as well as journalists and the institutions which regulate their activities.
The Law on National Radio and Television (1996) (last edition in 2021) establishes the procedures of governance, operation, funding, reorganisation and liquidation of the Lithuanian National Radio and Television broadcasting company as well as its duties, rights, and responsibilities. Article 19 of the law also establishes the principles of LRT financing by fixing its share from certain sources: “the amount of funds allocated to the LRT from the state budget each year is 1 per cent of the state budget and municipal budget revenue from personal income tax and 1.3 per cent from excise revenue actually received in the year before last”.
Laws referring to the "status of the artists" (employed or independent artists, media freelancers etc.)
The Law on the Status of Artists and Artists’ Organisations (1996) (last edition in 2018) establishes the basis and procedure for granting and abolishing the status of artist and artists’ organisations.
The Law on Professional Performing Arts (2004) (last edition in 2021) regulates the governance of professional performing arts, the system and operation of professional performing arts institutions, the financing of these institutions, the employment relations and social guarantees of employees of these institutions, as well as the management and use of the property of institutions.
Table 27: International legal instruments implemented by Lithuania in the cultural field
|Title of the act||Year of adoption|
|UNESCO Conventions, ratified by Lithuania|
|Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage||Acceptance: 31/03/1992|
|Convention on Technical and Vocational Education||Accession: 28/01/1993|
|Convention concerning the Exchange of Official Publications and Government Documents between States||Acceptance: 10/03/1993|
|Protocol to amend articles 6 and 7 of the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat||Ratification: 20/08/1993|
|Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat||Accession: 20/08/1993|
|Convention on the Recognition of Studies, Diplomas and Degrees concerning Higher Education in the States belonging to the Europe Region||Accession: 16/11/1994|
|Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict with Regulations for the Execution of the Convention||Accession: 27/07/1998|
|Protocol to the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict||Accession: 27/07/1998|
|Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property||Ratification: 27/07/1998|
|Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Materials, with Annexes A to E and Protocol annexed||Accession: 21/08/1998|
|Protocol to the Agreement on the Importation of Educational, Scientific and Cultural Materials, with Annexes A to H||Accession: 21/08/1998|
|Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region||Ratification: 17/12/1998|
|International Convention for the Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and Broadcasting Organizations||Accession: 22/04/1999|
|Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms against Unauthorized Duplication of their Phonograms||Accession: 27/10/1999|
|Second Protocol to the Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict||Accession: 13/03/2002|
|Convention for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage||Ratification: 21/01/2005|
|Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage||Ratification: 12/06/2006|
|International Convention against Doping in Sport||Ratification: 02/08/2006|
|Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions||Accession: 18/12/2006|
|WIPO treaties signed by Lithuania|
|Berne Convention||Accession: 14/09/1994|
|Budapest Treaty||Accession: 9/02/1998|
|Hague Agreement||Accession: 26/06/2008|
|Madrid Protocol||Accession: 15/08/1997|
|Nairobi Treaty||Accession: February 9, 2021|
|Nice Agreement||Accession: 22/11/1996|
|Paris Convention||Accession: 21/02/1994|
|Patent Cooperation Treaty||Accession: 5/04/1994|
|Patent Law Treaty||Accession: 3/11/2011|
|Phonograms Convention||Accession: 27/10/1999|
|Rome Convention||Accession: 22/04/1999|
|Singapore Treaty||Ratification: 14/05/2013|
|Trademark Law Treaty||Ratification: 27/01/1998|
|UPOV Convention||Accession: 10/11/2003|
|WIPO Convention||Accession: 30/01/1992|
|WIPO Copyright Treaty||Accession: 18/06/2001|
|WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty||Accession: 26/01/2001|
|Council of Europe Treaties in the area of culture, signed and ratified by Lithuania|
|European Cultural Convention||Entered into force: 7/5/1992|
|Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe||Entered into force: 1/4/2000|
|European Convention on Transfrontier Television||Entered into force: 1/1/2001|
|European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (Revised)||Entered into force: 8/6/2000|
|European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production||Entered into force: 1/10/1999|
|Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities||Entered into force: 1/7/2000|
|European Landscape Convention||Entered into force: 1/3/2004|
|European Convention for the Protection of the Audiovisual Heritage||Entered into force: 1/1/2008|
|Protocol to the European Convention for the Protection of the Audiovisual Heritage, on the Protection of Television Productions||Entered into force: 1/4/2014|
Last update: May, 2022
Protection of the national cultural heritage is guaranteed in the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania (Articles 42, 47, 54).
The objects of immovable cultural and natural heritage are protected under the Law on Protection of Immovable Cultural Heritage (1994) (last edition in 2021), the Law on Planning of Territories (1995) and the Law on Protected Territories (1993) (last edition in 2022).
The Law on Protection of Immovable Cultural Heritage (1994) implements the provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, International Treaties and the Laws of the National Security Framework in the field of protection of immovable cultural heritage. It also establishes the legal basis for accounting, preservation and management of immovable cultural heritage located in the territory of the Republic of Lithuania as well as principles of the monitoring of the condition of cultural heritage objects. The Law also protects sites and other property associated with immovable cultural heritage.
The Law on Planning of Territories (1995) regulates the planning of the territories of the Republic of Lithuania, the Continental Shelf and the Exclusive Economic Zone in the Baltic Sea and establishes the rights and obligations of persons involved in this process. The purpose of this Law is to ensure the harmonious development of territories and the rational urbanisation by establishing requirements for systematic spatial planning, compatibility of documents of different levels, as well as to create conditions for the harmony of the natural and anthropogenic environment and urban quality while preserving the valuable landscape, biodiversity, natural and cultural heritage.
The Law on Protected Areas (1993) (last edition in 2021) regulates the system of protected areas, the legal bases for the designation and establishment of protected areas, changes to their borders and status, as well as the protection, management and control of these territories. In 2003, the Law was amended in order to incorporate the regulations of territories of international importance, including the European ecological network Natura 2000.
The Law on the Protection of Movable Cultural Heritage (1996) (last edition in 2021) establishes the administration of the protection of movable cultural heritage; the accounting and storage of movable cultural property; the principles of the change of ownership and control of cultural objects; the exportation of movable cultural property and antiques from and importation into the Republic of Lithuania; and the return of illegally exported cultural objects. The Law was amended in 2009 by changing the definition of “movable cultural property”. The new definition defines it as “material creations and other objects which are movable based on their designation and nature, hold cultural value and are listed in the State inventories of movable cultural property”. In 2016, the Law was amended by adding new terms of “Member State of the European Union”, “Return of cultural object”, “Cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, Member State of the European Union or a third country”, etc. The introduction of new terms is linked to the alignment of the Law with Directive 2014/60/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 May 2014 on the return of cultural objects unlawfully removed from the territory of a Member State.
The Law of the National Commission for Cultural Heritage (2004) (last edition in 2017) establishes the Heritage Commission, which is an expert and advisor to the Lithuanian Parliament, President and Government regarding the national policy of cultural heritage protection, its implementation, evaluation and improvement.
The Law on Museums (1995) (last edition in 2019) regulates the system, classification and types of museums, their establishment, operation, closure and reorganisation, the accounting and protection of museum property and other relations connected to the operation of museums. To enhance the efficiency and quality of museums’ activity and improve museum legislation, on 23 December 2013 the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania passed an Amendment to the Law on Museums by introducing a five-year term of office for the directors of national and state museums. On 3 May 2016, the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania supplemented the Law with Article 71 by empowering a head of a national, state and municipal museum to confer the title of curator emeritus on museum workers with solid professional experience, who were actively involved in work and creative activity but terminated their employment contract with a national, state and municipal museum.
TheLaw on the State Protection of Ethnic Culture (1999) (last edition 2021) establishes the general principles of state protection of Lithuanian ethnic culture and measures and conditions for the protection and continuity, development and enrichment of ethnic culture. The law also regulates the protection of ethnic heritage.
The Law on Documents and Archives (1995) (last edition in 2020) aims to provide the legal basis for the effective management of documents in order to ensure transparency and accountability of the activities of legal entities and to safeguard the legitimate interests of the persons of concern. The law also regulates the accumulation and administration of the national Documentation Fund in order to preserve the state’s documentary heritage, memory and national identity.
Last update: May, 2022
The Law on Professional Performing Arts (2004) (last edition in 2021) regulates the governance of professional performing arts, the system and operation of professional performing arts institutions, the financing of these institutions, the employment relations and social guarantees of employees of these institutions, as well as the management and use of their property.
The rules and procedure for granting the status of a professional performing arts theatre are governed by Article 5(3) of the Law on Professional Performing Arts (2004) as well as the Description of the Procedure for the Recognition of a Legal Person as a Professional Performing Arts Theatre or Concert Institution as well as the Revocation of this Recognition approved by Order No. ĮV-535 of the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania of 5 April 2017.
In accordance with the Rules for Partial Compensation of the Cost of Dissemination (Venue Hire) of Professional Performing Arts Projects from State Budget Funds approved by Order No. ĮV-95 of the Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania of 11 February 2015, theatres with the status of a professional performing arts theatre are partially compensated for costs related to the dissemination (venue hire) of professional performing arts projects.
The Law on Song Festivals (2007) (last edition in 2010) ensures the state protection, periodicity, continuity and development of Lithuania’s song festival tradition; regulates the procedure of preparation and management of song festivals, the responsibility and competence of state and municipal institutions in organizing the festivals; and establishes the principles of the financing of the song festivals. The Song Festival (also called The Song Celebration) is a massive traditional song and dance festival. The first Song Day was held in 1924 in Kaunas. 86 choirs (around 3000 singers) participated in the festival and performed 36 songs (22 folk songs and 14 authentic songs by Lithuanian composers). Since Lithuania’s independence in 1990, the event has gained the status of national celebration. On the 7th of November 2003, UNESCO has proclaimed the tradition of the Song and Dance Celebration in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity and in 2008 it has been inscribed in the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Last update: May, 2022
There are no specific laws for the visual or applied arts in Lithuania. For information on laws regarding museums, see chapter 4.2.2.
Last update: May, 2022
The Law on Libraries (1995) (last edition in 2020) establishes the state governance of library activities, the system of libraries, the procedure of formation of the libraries fund, the structure of this fund and its protection. The Law was amended in 2013 in order to establish the protection of copyright and related rights in libraries and set the principles of the appointment of executives. In 2004, the Law was amended by adding a new article, which established the Council of Libraries. The Council was defined as an expert and consultative body of the Ministry of Culture.
The document Strategic Directions of Library Development 2016–2022 was approved by Order No. ĮV-344 of the Minister of Culture on 29 April 2016. The directions are aimed at the effective use of the potential of libraries as an efficient information infrastructure, ensuring the development of lifelong learning of society members and their social and economic welfare, as well as maximising the impact on national and regional development.
The Regulations of Protection of the Library Stock were approved by Order No. 499 of the Minister of Culture on 6 October 2010. The document regulates the accounting of the Lithuanian library stock, receipt of documents, transfer of the stock, verification of the stock, writing off of documents, stock protection, and staff liability.
The Description of the Procedure of Certification of Librarians was approved by Order No. ĮV-320 of the Minister of Culture on 4 June 2010. It regulates the goals, categories, assessment criteria, certification and appeal procedure related to the certification of library specialists working in libraries founded by the state and municipalities or their institutions.
Order No ĮV-216 of 30 March 2015 by the Minister of Culture regulates the indication and verification of the circulation of the press. The order approved the Procedure of Verification of Circulation of Local, Regional and National Newspapers and Magazines, Except for Those Whose Circulation Does Not Exceed 500 Copies and/or Which Contain No Advertising. In accordance with the established procedure, publishers must provide data on the circulation of their published newspaper or magazine for the previous half-year to the Ministry of Culture twice a year, i.e. by 10 January and by 10 July, by filling in the approved form. The data on publication circulation (from the first half-year of 2021) and the participants of the media provided to the Ministry of Culture are made public in theDatabase of Producers and Disseminators of Public Information, available on the website of the Ministry of Culture.
Last update: May, 2022
Regulations of audiovisual and interactive media are set in The Law on the Provision of Information to the Public (1996) (last edition in 2021), the Law on the National Radio and Television (1996) (last edition in 2021) and TheLaw on Cinema (2002) (last edited in 2019).
The principal law governing the audiovisual and interactive media is the Law on the Provision of Information to the Public. This Law sets up procedures of collecting, preparing, publishing, and disseminating public information. It establishes the rights, obligations and responsibilities of producers, the media, journalists, and institutions that regulate their activity, as well as the operating principles of the Press, Radio and Television Support Foundation.
The Law on the National Radio and Television (1996) establishes the procedures of governance, operation, funding, reorganisation and liquidation of Lithuanian National Radio and Television broadcasting company as well as its duties, rights and responsibilities. Article 19 of the law also establishes the principles of LRT financing by fixing its share from certain sources: “the amount of funds allocated to the LRT from the state budget each year is 1 per cent of the state budget and municipal budget revenue from personal income tax and 1.3 per cent from excise revenue actually received in the in the year before last”.
The Ministry of Culture is one of the institutions responsible for the implementation of the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information (2002) (last edition in 2021). This Law establishes the criteria of the public information that has a detrimental effect on minors’ physical, mental, and moral development, the procedure of its publication and dissemination, and the rights, duties and liability of the producers, disseminators and owners of such information, as well as journalists and the institutions that regulate their activities. Several articles of The Law on the State Language (1995) (last edition in 2002) are related to the audiovisual and interactive media, e.g. Article 13 states that the audiovisual programmes and motion pictures publicly shown in Lithuania must be translated into the state language or shown with subtitles in Lithuanian; and Article 22 requires that the mass media of Lithuania (the press, television, radio, etc.) and all publishers of books and other publications must observe the norms of the correct Lithuanian language.
Last update: May, 2022
The Law on Construction (1996) (last edition in 2021) establishes the essential requirements for all construction works that are being built, reconstructed and repaired within the territory of the Republic of Lithuania, the procedure for technical regulation of construction, construction investigation, design of construction works, reconstruction, repair of new construction works, acceptance of them as fit for use, utilisation and maintenance, demolition of construction works, as well as the procedure of supervision over the above activities, the principles of activities of the participants in the construction, public administration entities, owners (or users) of engineering and utility networks and traffic routes, other legal and natural persons in this field. The Law also defines essential architectural requirements for construction works and foresees the certification of architects.
The Law on Advertising (2000) (last edition in 2020) aims to improve information to consumers about goods and services, protect consumers’ rights and legitimate interests, ensure fair competition, as well as promote self-regulation of advertising and facilitate the development of advertising activities. The law also establishes the requirements for the use of advertising, the responsibilities of subjects of advertising and the legal basis for the supervision of the use of advertising in the Republic of Lithuania.
The Law on Design (2002) (last edition in 2020) determines the legal protection of industrial design, its registration rules and order of use in Lithuania and the administration of the national design register.
The Law on Architects’ Chamber (2006) (last edition in 2021) regulates the establishment, functions, activities and management of the Architects’ Chamber of the Republic of Lithuanian.
In 2015, the Lithuanian government adopted the Guidelines of the Development of Architecture and Design. The guidelines define the main architectural policy objectives, implementation policy, and the role and importance of architecture in a social, educational, economic and cultural context (see also chapter 3.5.5). One of the results of these guidelines was the adoption of the Law on Architecture (2017) (last edition in 2017). The purpose of this law is to regulate public relations in the field of architecture in order to preserve the created environment and ensure its appropriate quality, harmonious with the uniqueness and culture of the country, reflecting public interests, and being of lasting value. This Law also establishes the requirements, conditions and procedures for the training of architects, the qualification of architects, the performance of the activities of architects, the rights and obligations of architects, and the quality requirements applicable to the activities and performance of architects.
The Law on Tourism (1998) (last edition in 2020) establishes the principles and priorities of the tourist industry and the organising of independent tourism, the requirements in supplying tourist services, the competence of state or municipal institutions supervising this industry and the conditions for utilising tourism resources.