Dispute Resolution, Arbitration & Conflict Management
January 6, 2020

The Supreme Court reached a significant decision regarding a dispute over the fee required for the use of phonograms

The legal firm, TRINITI, successfully represented the Estonian Performers Union in the Supreme Court during a precedent dispute which concerned the application of the Copyright Act. On 27 November 2019, the entire composition of the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court reached a groundbreaking decision in terms of clarifying the conditions under which the exception provided for in the Copyright Act extends to hobby schools, which allows phonograms to be used in the study process without any payment being made to performers and phonogram producers. The Supreme Court took the position that a registered hobby school may rely on the exception that has been provided for in the Copyright Act, which allows the use of phonograms in the study process without paying a remuneration to the performers and producers of phonograms. However, the claimant must comply with all of the requirements of copyright law, and the use of phonograms must not be in conflict with normal use, and should not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of rights holders. The Supreme Court upheld the appeal by the Estonian Performers Union, annulled the decision by the Tallinn Circuit Court, and sent it to the circuit court for reconsideration, primarily because the lower courts have not correctly established whether the use of phonograms in club training meets all the conditions for the application of the exception that has been provided by the Copyright Act.