5 Tips to Avoid Copyright Violations


We encounter copyrights constantly and unavoidably in our everyday life. Entrepreneurs need to be especially well-informed because lack of attention to copyrights may cost them dearly later.

1. Recognize the existence of copyrights

An entrepreneur’s first step to avoid violations is to recognise that authors have proprietary and moral rights granted by the law, including the right to remuneration, authorship, copies and processing. Only a natural person may reproduce a work without its author’s consent and without paying the author’s remuneration, and then only if the activity has no business aims.

2. Respect the related rights

The Copyright Act prescribes that performers, producers of phonograms and providers of broadcasting services incur rights related to copyright. For example, if you wish to use a vocal work then it is not enough to obtain the author’s permission to use the musical work – the permission of the singer i.e. the performer must also be asked.

3. Find out who holds the copyrights

If you find a good photo via Google or a suitable video on Youtube, you need to find out who its author is and you need to obtain their permission to use the work in business. Several collective management organisations have been established to simplify the process of protecting and finding authors and performers. For example author’s economic rights are represented in Estonia by Estonian Author’s Union (EAÜ) here, in Lavia bt AKKA/LAA here and in Lithuania by LATGA-A here. Accordingly, performers’ economic rights are represented in Estonia by Estonian Performers’ Union (EEL) here, in Latvia by LaIPA here and in Lithuania by AGATA here.

4. Never presume that no-one will notice

Entrepreneurs are usually not totally in the dark about the existence of copyrights. It is rather that they pay no big attention to violations and presume that their violation will go unnoticed. That is something you should not take for granted.

5. Think about consequences right away

As mentioned above, authors are entitled to remuneration. If the remuneration is left unpaid, the author will have the right to demand inter alia a license fee on grounds of legal provisions on unjustified enrichment, and this may become expensive for the offender. For example, it may turn out that a photograph found via Google and used in an advertising campaign was made by a famous photographer who asks a high price for use of his photos. Now it is too late for the offender to choose a cheaper photograph or to make a new one.

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