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The adopted amendments to the copyright laws do not burden the educational process

The National Assembly adopted amendments to the Copyright and Related Rights Act and the Collective Management of Copyright and Related Rights Act. With the amendments, Slovenia transposes the provisions of two European Directives into the Slovenian legal order.

kids watching something on silver laptop

The adopted amendments to the copyright laws do not burden the educational process | Author Flickr, Lucélia Ribeiro

The Ministry of Economic Development and Technology stresses that the amendments ensure higher protection of copyright while not restricting the use of materials for educational purposes.

Authors will start receiving a flat-rate compensation for the use of materials in the digital learning environment from 1 September 2024 onwards. The costs of these compensations will be covered by the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport for all educational institutions financed by the state budget. The same regulation already applies today for photocopying printed materials for educational purposes.

By adopting the amendments, Slovenia is transposing two Directives, one on copyright and related rights in the digital single market and the other on rules on the exercise of such rights for certain online transmissions of broadcasting organisations and for certain transmissions of television and radio programmes.

In the process of drafting and adopting the legislation, the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology and the Slovenian Intellectual Property Office have twice held a very broad public debate and coordinated the material several times across ministries, gathering suggestions and comments from a wide range of stakeholders. "The interests of the various stakeholders were extremely conflicting, so after exhausting the possibilities of finding common compromise solutions and in view of the time constraints in adopting the two laws, we focused primarily on transposing all the provisions of the two European Directives. The adopted amendments represent balanced solutions in the area of copyright law and take market stakeholders into account as far as possible. However, we are aware that we have not been able to resolve all the issues, and we plan to continue discussions with stakeholders on possible further improvements to copyright legislation after the adoption of both laws," said Matjaž Han, Minister of Economic Development and Technology.

The amendments to both laws will contribute to a better functioning of the internal digital market, ensure a high level of protection for copyright holders, facilitate the acquisition of such rights and establish a framework for the proper exploitation of copyright and other protected works by users or the public. "The renewed copyright legislation, while protecting the rights of authors and regulating their compensation, does not increase the cost of education, as has been read in various media during recent weeks. Schools will continue to be able to use pictorial and textual material to supplement teachers' explanations in the classroom," stresses Minister Han. However, authors will now be compensated for the use of their works in teaching in digital environments from 1 September 2024 onwards. "For those educational institutions that are financed from the state budget, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport will cover the cost of these compensations. Parents, schools and universities will not incur any higher costs on this account," Minister Han reassures.

Important innovations are also being introduced in the area of text and data mining on the internet, which can be carried out for commercial purposes or for scientific research. Specifically, this involves algorithms that are more powerful than general web browsers and can thus access more information. Such mining will be free of charge for scientific research purposes, rightholders will have to make it possible.

The amended copyright legislation was drafted by the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology in cooperation with the Slovenian Intellectual Property Office, the Ministry of Education, Science and Sport and the Government Office for Digital Transformation.

Main solutions of the Copyright and Related Rights Act (ZASP-I)

The Copyright and Related Rights Act mainly addresses three areas: certain additional limitations of authors' rights, wider access to online content and fair remuneration for authors and performers.

For reasons of public interest, it will now be possible to use protected works free of charge without the author's permission in the following four cases:

  • text and data mining, including for scientific research purposes,
  • the preservation of cultural heritage,
  • for the use of works which cannot be bought and which are, for example, only held in libraries or museums,
  • in cases of scientific research.

This solution will make it easier for the public to use digital works online. However, free use of works will not be possible in the case of teaching in a digital environment - in this case the Ministry responsible for education will compensate the rightholders.

Alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, will also now be made available to facilitate licensing and dispute resolution.

Publishers of press publications will have broader rights, which will improve their position. They will now be entitled to remuneration for the use of their press publications by other information service providers - and a share of this remuneration will also be paid to the authors of the works used, such as authors of articles, photographs or videos.

Providers of online platforms where works can be made publicly available by users of the platforms (e.g. Instagram, YouTube, etc.) will have new obligations. They will be responsible for the use of the work on their platforms. If such an online platform does not have the permission of the rightholders, it will not be allowed to display these works on its platforms.

The amendment also introduces fair remuneration for authors and performers in contracts for the exploitation of their works or performances. Authors and performers will also be compensated when they transfer their rights to someone else. They will thus share in the exploitation of the works and performances they have created - including for some of the most massive uses of works online. Authors and rightholders in the audiovisual sector will also now benefit from these remunerations, while the music sector is already covered. This is good news for film actors and producers in particular, who will now be entitled to compensation.

Last but not least, the provisions on the records of income and the obligation to report on the income generated to the author and performer are also being improved. Authors and performers will thus have more information on how their work has been used and how much income has been generated. The regime is also being reformed to allow the author or performer to request a change in the contract, either because he or she has been underpaid in relation to the success of the work, or to revoke the transfer of the right if his or her work is not used. Specifically, the author of a book will be able to cancel the contract with a publishing house that has the exclusive right to sell the book if the publishing house does not sell the book.

The main solutions of the Collective Management of Copyright and Related Rights Act (ZKUASP-A)

The Copyright and Related Rights Act defines the rights of authors, while the Collective Management of Copyright and Related Rights Act defines how authors enforce these rights.

The amendment to the ZKUASP-A thus makes it mandatory to exercise copyright only through collective management organisations for all forms of retransmission of the original broadcasting signal (retransmission), not only for cable retransmission as is currently the case, which makes it easier for authors of works to manage their rights.

Collective management will also be compulsory in the case of remuneration for the use of audiovisual works, except in two cases, namely for the right of the film producer in the case of a presentation of an audiovisual work in cinemas, and where the audiovisual work is broadcast by a broadcasting organisation with its own broadcasting signals. The right to compensation in the case of teaching by electronic means, at a distance or cross-borders (under the new Article 47b of the ZASP-I) will also be subject to compulsory collective management, except to the extent that this right is already subject to compulsory collective management in the context of the communication to the public of non-theatrical musical and literary works.

However, the amendment follows technological developments in another area. There is an increasing number of cases in which online search engines bring together articles on a particular subject that have already been published, but authors are not compensated for these publications, only the publishers of press publications are compensated. From now on, when a search engine offers news on its website in such a way that it publishes a web link with a short summary of the content, it will have to pay a fee for this. According to the proposal of the Slovene Association of Journalists, half of this compensation will go to the author and the other half to the publisher of the press publication.

The ZKUASP-A also regulates special rules for collective management of rights in case of out-of-commerce works, establishes new ways of concluding and new content of a joint agreement, and recasts the provisions on mediation.