Copyright and
related rights

General Information

The main legal rules on copyright in Poland are set out in the Act on Copyright and Related Rights which has been adopted on 4 February 1994. This act has been amended several times since then, mainly to adapt it to the changes taking place at European and international level.

In order to have a more complete view of copyright law in Poland, the Act on Copyright and Related Rights has to be completed with a number of other legislative and regulatory acts, such as the Act on the protection of databases (2001) and a set of regulations enacted by the minister in charge of culture. These regulations deal with e.g. the reporting obligations of collective management organisations, carriers which are subject to the private copying levy, fees paid by the owners of reprographic equipment. There is also extensive case-law interpreting the abovementioned rules.

The provisions of the Polish  Act on Copyright and Related Rights are similar to the ones applied in the majority of EU Member States from the continental copyright tradition, which include:

  •  a non-exhaustive list of the types of works that can be protected by copyright, on the condition that these works are the expression of a creative activity of an individual  character
  •  definitions of the types of use of protected works and other subject-matter
  •  rules on co-authorship, creation of works in the framework of employment contracts
  • moral and economic rights (both for copyright and neighbouring rights)
  • resale right
  • the obligation of producers and importers of certain equipment to pay private copying levies, and the shares for creators, performers and producers in the collected amounts
  •  rules on exceptions and limitations (incidental and temporary reproduction, private use, news reporting, education and scientific research, exceptions for libraries and archives, quotation, exceptions for information and documentation institutions, religious, school, academic or State ceremonies, parody exception, unintentional use, exhibition of works of art by the owner of the material copy, exceptions for disabled persons, public order, administrative and judicial procedures, public exhibition or public sale of works for promotional and sale purposes, use of orphan works). These exceptions and limitations are in certain cases subject to the payment of a compensation to the rightholders (private use, certain cases of news reporting, quotation and anthologies, commercial use by information and documentation institutions, the reproduction of works of art and photographs in encyclopaedias and atlases). The application of exceptions and limitations is also subject to the obligation to indicate the name of the rightholder and the source, as well as to the three-step test (the use should not conflict with a normal exploitation of the work and should not prejudice the legitimate interest of the rightholder)
  • certain manners of use of out-of-commerce works
  • public lending remuneration system
  • term of protection
  • transfer of rights
  •  specific provisions for audiovisual works
  • specific provisions for computer programmes
  • collective management of rights
  • protection of moral and economic rights (civil liability)
  • criminal liability for copyright infringement

Ministry of Culture and National Heritage
ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 15/17
00-071 Warszawa