Dear Publishers – Members of the Association of Journalists and Publishers Repropol!


Dear Publishers – Members of the Association of Journalists and Publishers Repropol!

Published: 19.07.2023

In connection with our receipt of information about the sending by the KOPIPOL Association to some journalists of letters about the start of payment of „remuneration to authors whose fragments of works (in the form of press clippings) were made available by information and documentation centers to third parties for a fee through the so-called press monitoring”, we would like to share some comments.

The KOPIPOL Association for Collective Management of Copyrights of Authors of Scientific and Technical Works is an organization for the collective management of copyrights of authors – as the name suggests – authors of scientific and technical works, i.e. those who publish their materials in books and in the press.

The system of calculating and paying remuneration for individual creators is based on research carried out by KOPIPOL in copy shops, checking what and on what scale is copied. The problem, however, is that the research is carried out in copy shops located at universities or in their vicinity. The results of these studies are therefore no surprise – according to KOPIPOL, over 95% of copied materials are scientific and technical books. These results differ significantly from the research that our representative – SDiW Repropol (recently together with SAiW Copyright Polska) conducts annually to determine the distribution of funds collected by the Copyright Polska Association for book and press publishers. The results of these studies – to generalize – indicate that the press accounts for about 50% of all copied materials. Unfortunately, in recent years – to our knowledge – no funds collected by KOPIPOL have been distributed to journalists.

In this context, a few years ago, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage even initiated control proceedings to check whether KOPIPOL fulfills its obligations. After the adoption of the Collective Management Act in 2018, the Minister verified the permits of all collective management organizations, updating them and adapting them to the new regulations.

In the case of KOPIPOL, on April 15, 2022, the Minister obliged KOPIPOL, within 12 months, to distribute and pay the revenues from the rights collected so far by the Association and transfer the unpaid rights revenues to another organization, or submit divided revenues from the rights to a court deposit or transfer undistributed revenues from the rights rights to the Culture Promotion Fund.

Therefore, it is justified to assume that the sending of the letters in question is aimed at implementing the Minister’s decision.

The content of the letter that has reached us does not clearly indicate what measures are in question. We are talking about funds from the activities of press clippers, who for many years referred to being centers of documentation and press information and regulated in art. 30 of the copyright law, an exception for such centers, according to which press materials could be used without obtaining the appropriate license and paying fees.

In our opinion, this was an abuse of the law, because pressclippers are not and never have been centers of documentation and press information. Without going into a detailed analysis here, confirmed by relevant legal opinions, it is enough to note that the aforementioned art. 30 of the Act was repealed in 2015.

Until then, however, as we suppose, KOPIPOL had some agreements with the pressclipper company/companies and on the basis of them received the so-called „reprographic fee”, i.e. compensation for copying press materials as part of fair personal use. Thus, KOPIPOL legitimized the activities of media monitoring companies that avoided paying license fees. As a side note, it should be noted that after 2015, pressclippers changed their arguments and began to claim that the materials they use are „quotations”, and, moreover, that they are libraries and archives, and therefore – on the basis of other fair use regulations – no fees to publishers and journalists are not entitled (by the way, this argument was also refuted by the courts as a result of trials initiated and supported by IWP and Repropol).

Most likely, therefore, the period referred to by KOPIPOL in its letters (2005-2014) results from the repeal of Art. 30 of the Act and changes in the arguments of some pressclipper companies with which SDiW Repropol and the publishers have been conducting lawsuits for over 10 years.

The vague nature of the information sent by KOPIPOL does not allow for the assessment of the correctness of the calculations of remuneration due to authors or the correctness of their division used by this organization. Therefore, it seems reasonable that the authors who received information from KOPIPOL on payments should ask this organization for detailed information on the rules for calculating and dividing outstanding remuneration for journalists. At the same time, we would like to remind you that the provision of detailed data regarding your professional activity may imply various legal consequences.

As a side note, it should be noted that the usual, and from 2018 also legally regulated in the Act on Collective Management, standard deadline for payment of funds collected from rights is 9 months from the end of the financial year to which the payments relate. We also believe that the KOPIPOL Association was not and is not the right organization to collectively manage the rights of journalists.

As the Chamber of Press Publishers (chamber of commerce) and the Association of Journalists and Publishers Repropol (an organization for collective management of press publishers’ copyrights, and applying in administrative proceedings to extend the permit of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage to manage the rights of press authors) – we have no legal title to advise journalists on how are to act on KOPIPOL’s offer. It seems that in the current situation, the most reasonable solution would be to take advantage of the option indicated by the Minister and cause the amounts due to journalists to be transferred from KOPIPOL to the court deposit, and then transfer them to the appropriate representation of press publishers and journalists, i.e. SDiW Repropol.

We hope that soon the Minister will issue an appropriate decision extending Repropol’s permit, which will also cover the rights of journalists under collective management. This will properly regulate the representation of publishers and journalists and ensure real and dignified protection of their interests by an organization established by the environment itself.

Kind regards –

Grzegorz Cydejko
president of REPROPOL

Marek Frąckowiak

president of IWP

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