Copyright and the Estonian Patent Office

From the 1st of April 2021, the Estonian Patent Office performs certain tasks of an applied nature in the field of copyright and related rights.

These tasks are:

  • acting as a mediator of information on the status of the orphan works in Estonia;
  • performing state supervision over the collective management organizations (CMOs);
  • organizing the work of the Copyright Committee.

Questions regarding copyright
e-mail: [email protected].

    The program of the Ministry of Justice (Justiitsministeeriumi programm) (link in Estonian) for the period of 2020–2023 states that the Estonian Patent Office must be transformed into a modern competence center for intellectual property rights that advises entrepreneurs in the field of intellectual property, ensures fast and efficient procedure for registering intellectual property and rapid pre-trial resolution of disputes. As one measure to achieve this, the program foresees the extension of the Estonian Patent Office’s competence in the field of copyright. The Estonian Patent Office is already involved in the implementation of the country’s economic policies in the field of industrial property and, as intellectual property is closely linked, the underlying principles, problems (including enforcement of rights, awareness-raising) and often potential beneficiaries (e.g. businesses) are similar, it is justified to extend the competence of the Estonian Patent Office also in the field of copyright and related rights.[1] The intention to transform the Estonian Patent Office into a competence center for intellectual property is also set in the development plan for the area of government of the Ministry of Justice for the period of 2019–2022 (Justiitsministeeriumi arengukava 2019-2022) (link in Estonian).

    In particular, the Estonian Patent Office shall be entrusted with the following tasks in the field of copyright and related rights.

    1) Mediator of information on the status of the orphan works in Estonia, i.e. act as a competent authority within the meaning of Article 3(5) of Directive 2012/28/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council.

    Copyright Act § 274 (1) enacts the competent authority for the meditation of information on the status of an orphan works in Estonia, which as of the 1st of April 2021 is the Estonian Patent Office. The competent authority has essentially two tasks. The competent authority shall forward the information received from public memory institutions and Estonian Public Broadcasting about work declared to be orphan works to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) database.

    However, if the ownership of the work or phonogram declared orphan is subsequently confirmed, the competent authority shall transmit this information to the database of orphan works maintained by EUIPO in accordance with § 277 of the Copyright Act.

    The competent authority will not take decisions on the classification of works or phonograms as orphans, nor can the competent authority reject information received from, for example, memory institutions. All responsibility for identifying a protected object as an orphan and performing a sufficiently careful search lies within the memory institutions.

    2) Exercising state supervision over the activities of the CMOs and ensuring compliance with the requirements stated in Chapter IX of the Copyright Act [2].

    Chapter IX of the Copyright Act regulates the collective exercise of rights and section 3 of the chapter includes provisions for state supervision over the activities of CMOs. Chapter IX also enacts requirements for CMOs and their activities.

    Additionally is regulated the use of revenue from the exercise of rights and its distribution to rightsholders, the terms and conditions for concluding a contract with users (including the introduction of reasonable tariffs) and providing information from CMOs to rightsholders as well as to users and to the general public on the exercise of these rights (including the submission of a transparency report, the disclosure of information on a website).

    Pursuant to § 7926 of the Copyright Act, effective 1st of April 2021, the Estonian Patent Office exercises State supervision over compliance with the requirements set up in sections 1 and 2 of aforementioned Chapter. Most of the requirements for which state supervision is carried out derive from Directive 2014/26/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council. The obligation on a Member State to ensure compliance with those requirements derives from Article 36 (1) of that Directive. In addition to exercising state supervision, the Estonian Patent Office was entrusted with the tasks of the competent authority provided for in Articles 37 and 38 of the Directive [3].

    3) Organizing the work of the Copyright Committee as established under § 87 of the Copyright Act.

    § 87 section 1 of the Copyright Act enacts the formation of a Copyright Committee to the Estonian Patent Office as of the 1st of April 2021. The committee is a conciliation body within the meaning of § 19 of the Conciliation Act and carries out the tasks listed in § 87 section 1 of the Copyright Act. For example, at the request of the disputing parties, resolves disputes related to copyright and related rights by conciliation of the parties. The members of the Committee are appointed by the minister responsible for the area for a five-year period. If necessary, independent experts from outside the Committee shall also be involved to the Committee´s work with an order of the Director General of the Estonian Patent Office.

    Given the practical nature of the Committee’s tasks, the Estonian Patent Office is most suitable authority to perform them. The Estonian Patent Office is already carrying out pre-trial settlement of disputes concerning the legal protection of industrial property objects.
     

    [1] Already in 2015, the explanatory memorandum to the draft transposition of Directive 2014/26/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council (Law on the amendment of copyright law 163 SE) states that the Estonian Patent Office could be considered as a state supervisory authority for CMOs in the future. 

    [2]These requirements are based on Directive 2014/26/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council.

    [3] Directive on collective management of copyright and related rights and multi-territorial licensing of rights in musical works for online use in the internal market. See Collective rights management Directive - publication of collective management organisations and competent authorities.

    • Jaga

    Last updated: 17.03.2022