The Intellectual Property and Related Rights (Amendment) Law of 2022, published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Cyprus on 7 October 2022, aims to harmonise the Cyprus copyright regime with various acts at the European Union ('EU') level and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.
This Law amends and redefines already existing concepts and establishes new definitions and obligations.
Its main object is to modernise copyright protection in light of the advances in technology. It establishes new obligations strengthening the rights and protections afforded to various types of rightholders, and grants access rights for a number of sectors such as press publishers and researchers. The law also imposes a liability mechanism for online content sharing service providers who are expressly considered to perform an act of communication to the public or an act of making available to the public for the purposes of the law when they give the public access to copyright protected works uploaded by their users. In this respect, such service providers are now under an obligation to obtain an authorisation from rightholders, e.g., by concluding relevant licensing agreements with them. In case the authorisation is not granted, the online service providers are, subject to certain exceptions, liable for the unauthorised use of the relevant works via their platform.
Under the new Law, iconographers are considered as "creators" and the term audio recording has been replaced with "phonogram".
The new Law clarifies that its clauses apply mutatis mutandis to neighbouring rights. Neighbouring rights are included under the exclusive right of control within Cyprus. In addition, the Law illustrates that the right of distribution is not exhausted within the EU besides the instance of a first sale.
The new Law adds new procedural provisions such as:
- Usage of text and content mining for scientific research purposes, as well as exceptions and limitations to such use.
- For purposes of cultural preservation, cultural heritage institutions are allowed to make copies of works or other objects of protection permanently held in their collections.
- The capacity of collective management organisations to enter into non-exclusive licence agreements for non-commercial purposes with a cultural heritage institution for specific purposes.
- Where the term of protection of a work of visual art has expired, any material resulting from an act of reproduction of that work shall not be subject to copyright or related rights.
- Publishing rights and protection of press releases relating to online uses.
- Fair compensation claims.
- The existence of a mechanism of dispute resolution.
In the context of the dispute resolution mechanism, parties experiencing difficulties regarding the licensing of rights when seeking to conclude an agreement for the purpose of making works available on video-on-demand services may have recourse to the Copyright and Related Rights Authority ('CRRA') to resolve their disputes.
In addition, the principle of appropriate and proportionate remuneration is assigned to creators and performers which provide a licence or transfer of their exclusive rights. Creators and performers are entitled to receive regularly, at least once a year, updated, relevant and adequate information on the exploitation and promotion of their works and performances from the parties to whom they have licensed or transferred their rights.
A contract indexation mechanism is introduced, alongside alternative dispute resolution procedures for disputes concerning this mechanism and the transparency obligation mentioned above.
This Law provides authors or performers, where the exploitation of a work or other subject-matter has never taken place, the right to revoke, in whole or in part, the licence or transfer of rights.
Lastly, a complaint can be submitted to the CRRA regarding its own decision issued under the clauses of the Amending Law by individuals who have a locus standi.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.