If something is widely available online, it doesn't mean it's up for grabs for everyone, for free

Drugi jezik na kojem je dostupan ovaj članak: Bosnian

By: Kamilo Antolović & Mario Fraculj

One of the oldest rights, regulated for almost 100 years, is the intellectual property right (Croatia has accessed intellectual property regulation since 1921, with the joining to the Madrid Union).

Of course, new times and new paradigms bring many new challenges to way intellectual property is governed, including copyright and related rights. This becomes a special challenge in the digital market where copyright protection, but also abuse, are made easier and increasingly common.

There’s a common misconception that if something is on the Internet and easy to access (for example a nice photo for your personal profile) it means that it is available to everyone, for free.

It is like thinking that when entering a store, all that is in it, or at least a certain product, it becomes ours. Because of the very nature of the Internet, anyone who posts their work (of whatever nature it may be) on the internet, they must count that their work will be taken, even if the end user is unaware of it. However, it is important to differentiate between the necessity, and the intentional theft of material, especially of intellectual property. Most websites show in a visible place the degree of protection of the material on it. Of course, if such notice is not visible, it does not mean that the protection does not exist, and that the material can be used without restriction. The action itself, ie the fact that sharing or using content that isn’t yours is not bringing you financial benefit, is not going to free you from infringing others’ rights if the owner decides to take action against you. Using someone else’s piece of work (original work) may not have brought you earning, but you should be aware that perhaps potential earning is taken away from the author by such action.

In effort to bring more order to the online rights (digital market), The European Parliament and the European Council have adopted a slew of regulations and Directives (2016/0280) on copyright in the digital single market.

The development of digital technologies has accelerated the creation of new business models and behaviors, and have strengthened the role of the Internet as a market for the creation and distribution of content (intellectual property works) that are copyright-protected. The EU Directives adopted in the field of copyright and related rights aim to ensure a high level of protection of the rights holders, and create the basis for exploitation of protected content.

Many provisions of EU legislation* are not addressed here, but we want to warn of the exceptions to the use of copyright works as defined in the Directive.

The Directive (2016/0280) and many other acts** establish exceptions and limitations on copyright in the digital environment, and include exceptions:

  1. Text and data mining (automatized analytics technique, the purpose of which is collection and processing of data in order to determine trends or patterns) conducted by research organizations, without a profit goal, or whose profit is reinvested in scientific research.
  2. Using works in teaching (only on the premises of an educational organization) is allowed under the caveat that it is used exclusively for teaching purposes as example, and if:

-it is used on the premises of the educational institution,

-the work is protected and available only to the participants in the education program,

-the source must be noted (if possible)

  1. For the purpose of institutions dedicated to cultural heritage (libraries, museums, archives etc) who are allowed to multiply works or other content that are permanent part of their collections, exclusively for the purpose of preservation of such works.

*the use of protected content used by IT service providers storing large amounts of (copyright) works and other content uploaded by their users will be processed in a special attachment.

**Due to frequent changes and additions, we recommend referral to other useful sources (WIPO-World Intellectual Property Organization, EUIPO-European Intellectual Property Organization, DZIV-Croatian Intellectual Property Office).