20 years together

New success of the Intellectual Property and Media Law practice groups of Dimitrov, Petrov & Co.

26 July 2018

By virtue of a decision of June 18, 2018 under Case No. 2953/2018, Sofia District Court annulled as unlawful a penal order imposing a penalty on one of the biggest media service providers in Bulgaria for alleged cable transmission of sound recordings in violation of the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act (CNRA).

The said decision provides an answer to a fundamental question in the field of collective management of copyright and neighbouring rights, namely who is responsible to settle the neighbouring rights for cable and/or satellite transmission of audiovisual works included in television programmes.

As evident from the text of the decision, Sofia District Court has upheld the arguments put forward by Dimitrov, Petrov & Co.’s team and has ruled that addressees of the obligation under Art. 97, Para. 1, item 6 of the CNRA are the undertakings that have electronic communications networks and provide electronic communications services within the meaning of the Electronic Communications Act – i.e., cable and satellite operators: “Cable and satellite operators are the undertakings which shall settle the neighbouring rights for broadcasting and transmission by cable and/or satellite of protected works.”

The legal act establishes that the obligations of media service providers that do not have electronic communications networks are limited to settling the rights of synchronization, i.e. for including audiovisual works within the television programme.

If the decision enters into force, it will serve as an argument against double payment by media service providers for a right to use which has already been paid for by the platform operators.

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