The following links, provide short answers to frequently asked questions related to copyright. The FAQ list is enriched frequently, based on relevant questions imposed to OPI.

  1. What is intellectual property?
  2. What is copyright protected?
  3. Can copyright be registered?
  4. What rights does copyright law provide?
  5. What are related rights?
  6. How long does copyright and related rights protection last?
  7. What are Collecting Societies and Collective Protection Societies?
  8. What is piracy?
  9. What are the consequences of piracy?
  10. How can authors and related right rightholders protect their rights?

 

1. What is intellectual property?

According to art. 18 para. 18 of Law 2557/1997 the international term “propriete intellectuelle”/“intellectual property” is rendered in Greek as “διανοητική ιδιοκτησία”.

Intellectual property includes both copyright (“propriete litteraire et artistique”/“droit d’ auteur”) and related rights and industrial property (“propriete industrielle”), such as inventions, models of usage, rights on vegetal varieties, signs, industrial plans and protected geographical names of origin.

Intellectual property includes the rights that arise from the creation of a product of the intellect, which is an intangible asset.

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2. What is copyright protected?

Copyright protects all original intellectual literary, artistic or scientific creations, expressed in any form, and especially written or oral texts, musical compositions, with or without text, theatrical plays, with or without music, choreographies and pantomimes, audiovisual works, fine art works, which include drawings, paintings and sculptures, engravings and lithographs, architectural works, photographs, applied arts works, illustrations, maps, three-dimensional works regarding geography, topography, architecture or science, translations, adaptations, customizations and other alterations of folklore works or expressions, as well as collections of folklore works or expressions or other simple events and facts, such as encyclopaedias and anthologies, if the selection or arrangement of their content is original.

Furthermore, copyright law protects databases which, due to the selection or arrangement of their contents, constitute intellectual creations. Such protection does not extend to the contents of databases and is without prejudice to any rights subsisting in those contents themselves.

Computer programs and the preparatory material for their engineering are also protected. The protection is provided in any form of expression of a computer program.

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3. Can copyright be registered?

Based on both national (art. 6 par. 2 of Law 2121/1993) and international law (art. 5 par. 2 of the International Berne Convention), entitlement and exercise of author’s rights are not subject to any formality. Therefore, no formal procedure or the collaboration of a governmental or non-governmental ​service ​is required for the recognition of author’s rights on a work, as ​it ​is the case for the acquisition of rights on other intangible assets (e.g. registering a trademark).

There are several practices one can undertake to secure the author and to make sure that there is an element ​of proof of paternity. The following two are the most commonly used: The first is the deposit of the ​Intellectual ​work to a notary. This practice provides ​a rebuttable presumption confirming the date, which can be evaluated by Court in the event of legal proceedings on the violation of the rights on that work.​

The second practice is the postage of a registered letter whose sender and recipient is the author himself (​or the recipient can be a third person) (we recommend the postage of two registered letters)​. On receiving the letter which contains the work, the author stores it in a safe place and keeps it sealed. In case a dispute about this specific work ever occurs the letter will be unsealed by a judge before ​the Court and will confirm its content.

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4. What rights does copyright law provide?

The author’s right includes the economic right and the moral right. The economic right, as the name suggests, gives the author the ability to exploit the work and benefit from it financially. The authorities included in the property right are the following:

  • The right to record the work, i.e. the right for its first integration onto a data carrier consisting the basis for its further reproduction
  • Reproduction of the work, i.e. the production of one or more copies of this work
  • Translation
  • Adaptation, customization or other alteration
  • The authority to distribute the original work
  • The import of its copies that were produced abroad
  • Rental and public lending
  • Public performance, i.e. any performance that makes the work available to a number of people greater than close family members and immediate social environment
  • Broadcasting from the radio or television
  • Cable, wireless or other type of presentation to the public (broadcasting the work over the Internet)

In case someone executes any of the aforementioned without having the author’s permission, he violates the author’s economic right, regardless of whether this is done for financial benefit or not.

Apart from the property right, the author also possesses the moral right, which renders the special nature of copyright law, as it includes the personal relationship that connects the author with his work. The moral right includes the moral authority for the work's publication, i.e. the authority to decide if, when and how the work will be made available to the public, the authority to recognize the authorship on the work and especially the authority to mention the author’s name on the copies of his work and in every public usage or even his right to retain his anonymity or to use an alias. The most practical authority of the moral right is the authority to maintain the integrity of the work, i.e. to prohibit any distortion, abridgement or other modification of the work. Furthermore, there is also the right of access, i.e. the authority of the author to have access to his work, even if the work’s economic right or ownership belongs to a third person, in which case access must be granted in a way that causes the minimum possible annoyance to the rightholder. Finally, the moral right also includes the moral authority of repudiation, which gives the author the right to repudiate contracts of transfer or exploitation of literary or scientific works , if this is necessary for the protection of his personality, due to changes in his beliefs or circumstances, and with the obligation to compensate the counter party for his positive damages. The peculiarity of the moral right does not lie only in the fact that it is independent from the economic right, but also in that it cannot be transferred.

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5. What are related rights?

Besides the protection of the authors, technical progress has created the need to protect performers performing artists, producers of audio and/or video data carriers, as well as the broadcasting organizations. These natural and legal persons make a great contribution to public performance, reproduction, propagation or production of certain copyrighted works. Due to the technical ability to record and the ease of multiplication of the copy works, these contributions need to be protected, so that they are not subjected to appropriation and unfair exploitation by third parties. To this end, new legislative regulations have been instituted, in parallel with copyright, and the category of the so-called “related rights”, i.e. related to copyright, was created. The Greek law recognizes related rights for:

  • artists who render or perform (art. 46)
  • producers of audio and/or video data carriers (art. 47)
  • broadcasting organization (art. 48)
  • publishers of printed documents, responsible for typesetting and pagination (linear right - art. 51)
  • persons publishing unpublished works by authors who are no longer alive (art. 51A)
  • databases manufacturers

The law contains an indicative enumeration of the performers performing artists, which includes actors, musicians, singers, chorus singers, dancers, puppet show artists, shadow theatre artists, variety theatre or circus performers.

For each of the categories of related rightholders, the law recognizes rights of different content. (articles 46-53)

The protection of related rights leaves intact and in no way affects the integrity of copyright protection. None of the provisions “on related rights” can be construed in any way that infringes this protection.

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6. How long does copyright and related rights protection last?

Copyright:

Copyright lasts for all the author’s life and seventy (70) years after his death, starting on January 1st of the year after the author’s death.

Related rights:

The duration of the related rights of performers or performing artists is set to fifty (50) years after the date of the performance but it cannot be shorter than the lifetime of the artist. However, if the material incorporation of the interpretation or performance is legally published or presented to the public during this period, these rights last for fifty (50) years from the date of this first publication or presentation to the public, whichever is first.

The rights of the producers of phonograms (producers of audio data carriers) expire fifty (50) years after the realization of the material integration.

The duration of the rights of the producers of audiovisual works (producers of video or audiovisual data carriers) is set to fifty (50) years after the material integration.

The duration of the rights of broadcasting organizations is set to fifty (50) years after the first broadcasting of the work, either cable or wireless, including cable or satellite broadcasts or any other kind of broadcasting.

The duration of the publishers’ right is set to fifty (50) years after the last publication of the work.

The duration set for the aforementioned cases begins January 1st of the year that follows the year of origination.

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7. What are Collecting Societies and Collective Protection Societies?

Collecting Societies manage the rights of authors and related rights rightholders. The purpose of the Collective Protection Societies is to protect the rights of their members. The Collecting Societies and Collective Protection Societies licensed by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism are listed here.

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8. What is piracy?

Piracy – a term that in colloquial language expresses the infringement of intellectual property – refers to the manufacture, distribution and selling of unauthorized copies (pirated copies) of material that is protected by intellectual property. Copyright piracy is demonstrated in various forms and pertains mainly to the sectors of music, audiovisual works, computer programs, publications, radio/television broadcasts and the internet.

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9. What are the consequences of piracy?

The piracy of assets that incorporate author’s rights, is a worldwide phenomenon that has taken disconcerting proportions. The World Customs Organization, in a recent research, announced that 5% of the world trade has to do with products of piracy. The European Union, respectively, noted that 5 to 7% of the world trade is based on piracy, which amounts to an income loss of up to 300 million Euro. OECD, while conducting a research on the same level, estimates that the losses suffered by the world trade due to piracy are over 5%. The same alarming figures apply also to the loss of job positions due to the phenomenon of piracy. This loss is estimated approximately to 120,000 job positions per year in the USA and 100,000 positions in the EU.

  • Revenue loss for the Greek State due to reduced VAT collections and customs duties
  • Loss of jobs
  • Decrease in the number of related cultural enterprises, and as a result, no development potential for the related cultural – and not only - industries
  • Decrease/Hesitation in the investments of foreign capitals
  • Threat to the consumer protection
  • Jeopardizing of the country’s authority
  • Inability to enforce relevant laws and implement international obligations

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10. How can authors and related right rightholders protect their rights?

How can authors and related right rightholders protect their rights (preventive measures, e.g. technological and legal means, civil and criminal penalties, etc.)

Copyright and related rights are protected by a web of civil, administrative and criminal penalties, as well as by preventive measures.

A) TECHNOLOGICAL MEASURES AND INFORMATION ON RIGHTS MANAGEMENT

The technological industry has already developed Technological measures of Protection (TMP) for the protection of the works on the Internet and in any digital form in general. Technological measures are technologies, devices or constituent elements which, in their common way of operation, aim to prevent or restrict actions regarding works or other protected items, which are not permitted by the rightholder of any author’s rights or related rights.

Typical examples of technological measures that control or prevent access to a file or service, are the use of a password or identification number, the implementation of cryptographic techniques, which transmit the information in an incoherent form, so that a decryption key is needed for its reversion to a coherent form, the technique of marking a work with digital watermarkings or dry markings, the systems that restrict the ability to create serial copies (SCMS – Serial Management Systems), as well as components and hardware e.g. [smart cards, dongles, hardware locks-HASP].

While the technological measures that control or restrict the use or reproduction of the work, usually, while they allow short-term reproduction – downloading to the computers’ temporary memory (browsing), so that the information that interests the user can appear on the screen –, they do not allow long-term reproduction (storing to a disk) or printing hard copies or, if they do, it must be a limited number of copies.

Without the rightholder’s permission, our national legislation (art. 66A) prohibits:

  • the elimination of any effective technological measure by a person aware of his actions or having reasonable grounds that allow him to know that he is seeking this purpose and
  • the construction, import, distribution, sale, rental, advertisement for sale or rental or possession for commercial purposes of devices, products, components or services that:
    • are promoted, advertised or traded for the purpose of eliminating protection, or
    • apart from eliminating protection, they have a commercial purpose or usage of limited importance or
    • have been primarily designed, produced, adapted or realized in order to allow or facilitate the elimination of protection provided by any effective technological measures.

The exercise of activities in violation of the aforementioned provisions raises the civil penalties provided by art. 65 of Law 2121/1993, while there are also criminal penalties against the offender (imprisonment of one year and money penalty of 2,900 – 15,000 Euro) and the ability to issue an injuction.

The rights management technological measures (Digital Rights Management-DRM or Electronic Copyright Management Systems-ECMS) function in the same direction as the technological protection measures, allowing the rightholders to control and manage the author’s rights in digital forms of reproduction and propagation.

B) COURT AND ADMINISTRATIVE MEASURES

If a violation of author’s rights or related rights is suspected, an injuction can be issued to prohibit the commission realization of an act that would violate copyright, without being necessary to specifically define the concerned works.

Besides, in any case where an act of copyright violation is imminent - as in the case of public performance of a theatrical, cinema or musical play without the author’s required permission - the local police authority should prohibit this act, following the author’s or his rightholders’ request, in accordance with Law 2121/93 (art. 63 para.1), . The district attorney, if requested, should issue a relevant order to the police authority. The same stands in the case that the public performance began with the permission of the author but payment of the due fee is delayed for more than two days.

C) CIVIL & CRIMINAL PENALTIES

In the context of civil law, the author and the rightholder of a related right can file:

  • a lawsuit regarding the recognition of their right
  • a lawsuit for the cessation of the violation
  • a lawsuit for the omission of the violation in the future, in case that violation or continuation or repetition of violation is threaten
  • a lawsuit for compensation and granting of no-material harm, if the offender is culpable of the violation
  • a lawsuit for ruling of inappropriate enrichment of the offender.
  • a lawsuit for payment of the profit that the offender earned from the management of another person’s property

Civil penalties provide the rightholder's right to compensation for the violation of his rights, which cannot be less than double the fee usually or legally paid for the exploitation that the offender carried out without permission.

According to art. 66 of law 2121, almost all violations of author’s rights and absolute related rights are punishable actions. Criminal penalties include imprisonment from 1 to 10 years and a money penalty of 2,900 to 59,000 Euro.

Finally, Law 3524/2007 also provides for administrative penalties in case of copyright infringement. In particular,

  • anyone who, without the right and in violation of the provisions of this law, reproduces, sells or distributes in any other way to the public a computer program, or possesses it with the intention of distributing it, is subject, regardless of any other penalties, to an administrative penalty of one thousand (1,000) Euro for each illegal copy of computer program, and
  • A street vendor or salesman (in a shop) that is caught distributing to the public, by selling or distributing in other ways or possessing with the purpose of distributing, audio media, which incorporate the recording of a work that is copyright protected, is subject to an administrative penalty equal to the number of the illegal sound media constituting the object of the violation multiplied by (20) Euro per each audio media, in accordance with the confiscation report filed at the arrest of the offender. The minimum amount of the administrative penalty is set to one thousand (1,000) Euro.

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For more information on copyright:

FAQs on copyright by the European Union Intellectual Property Office.