Go to home page
Observatory
On infringements of intellectual property rights

Promoting and supporting intellectual property value

Menu

FAQs on copyright for consumers

FAQs on copyright for consumers

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on copyright help inform all European consumers about what is legal and what is not when using copyright protected content, such as music or film, on the internet.

As an extension of this successful initiative, the FAQs on copyright for teachers will provide teachers and students from the EU with clear and accurate information on what use of copyright protected content is allowed in the context of education.

15 questions from consumers on copyright for all EU Member States

Answers to the FAQs are given for all EU Member States. They are available in English and at least one of the official languages of the Member State in focus.

How does copyright affect your daily life?

 
Do you post on social media?
Do you add stories to your blog?
Are you streaming legally?
Who owns your work when you upload it to a platform?
Quoting a famous book online? How?
 
 
 

Click on a country in the map or select a country from the list to show the answers for the country:

 

Showing the answers for the country: Bulgaria Read in: български | English .

 

1. What does copyright and related rights mean and cover, and is it the same all over the world?

2. Who owns copyright and how does copyright benefit creators, 'rights holder(s), consumers, society, economy and culture as a whole?

3. Do I automatically get copyright protection, for example, if I take a photograph with my phone, or do I have to register my work to get protection?

4. What is copyright infringement? Can I get in trouble for copyright infringement? What if I wasn't aware that I infringed something protected by copyright?

5. Under which conditions can I use a work protected by copyright created by another? I was told that using works created by others is simply a quote and thus is always allowed.

6. Am I allowed to use music protected by copyright as a soundtrack for a home video that I made and want to upload on a video platform?

7. Am I allowed to give a copy of a work protected by copyright to a family member or a friend?

8. Am I allowed to download a work protected by copyright from the internet and does it matter which technology is used and whether I download only parts of the work?

9. I tried to copy a movie from a DVD to my computer, but could not do it because of something called ‘Technical Protection Measures’. What is that and am I allowed to get around them in order to make private copies?

10. What are copyright levies?

11. Am I infringing copyright if I watch a movie by streaming it instead of downloading it from the internet?

12. If copyright-protected works are included into my posts automatically by social media platforms, am I responsible for this and is this a copyright infringement? What if I link to them or embed them in my own website or blog?

13. When I create a work and upload it online, terms and conditions of many sites ask for me to transfer my copyright to the site. Does that mean I lose all those rights in them for the future?

14. My avatar is based on my favourite movie star, cartoon character or sports club. Can I get in trouble for infringement of copyright or any other legislation because of this?

15. How do I know whether a work is offered legally or illegally online?

 

 

 

1. What does copyright and related rights mean and cover, and is it the same all over the world?

Copyright is more or less the same all over the world now, due to a significant number of international agreements that have provided a certain degree of harmonisation in almost all countries around the world. Copyright is certainly a territorial right and may still differ from country to country, as each state is free to determine the actual extent of protection it will apply on its territory, unless it is bound by an international instrument. Nowadays, however, the trend for uniformity, especially in the EU, is stronger than ever. That said, the essence of copyright and related rights is the same everywhere. Copyright protects literary, artistic and scientific works by granting a range of economic and moral rights to the authors. Related rights (also referred to as neighbouring rights), however, are the rights that grant protection to performers, producers of sound and audiovisual recordings and broadcasting organisations with regard to the use of their works, such as their reproduction and dissemination. Protection under copyright and under related rights is similar but often differs in scope and duration.

 

2. Who owns copyright and how does copyright benefit creators, 'rights holder(s), consumers, society, economy and culture as a whole?

In principle, copyright is owned by the physical person who created the work, usually called the ‘author’; however, there are exceptions (statutory or contractual) where copyright may arise for another physical or legal entity called the ‘copyright owner’, for example, when computer programs or databases are created under an employment contract or when a work is commissioned by contract and it is agreed that the copyright or related rights will arise directly for the assignor. Copyright in a work created by two or more persons belongs to them jointly and in equal parts unless stipulated otherwise. In the case of a collective work, the copyright belongs to the physical person or legal entity that collected or arranged the collective work, whereas the copyright in the individual parts included in it belongs to their individual authors. Copyright in works created in the framework of an employment contract (except for computer programs and databases) or a commissioning contract belongs to the author (unless otherwise agreed in the contract). The employer or the commissioner has the exclusive right to use such work for his or her normal activities or for the purposes for which the work was commissioned. In this case, therefore, the creator will not be entitled to specific remuneration, apart from his or her salary or commission. However, when the works are created under an employment or civil servant contract and the salary received or commission proves to be inadequate compared with the revenues collected as a result of the work’s use, the author may demand additional compensation. If no agreement is reached between the author and the employer/commissioner, the issue is resolved by the court ex aequo et bono.

When computer software or databases are created, the copyright usually arises for the employer but the employment contract may stipulate that the copyright arises for the author.

Authors and rights holders benefit from their copyright when they commercially exploit their protected works. Anyone who wants to reproduce or publicly communicate a protected work has to enter into a contractual relation with the author or the rights holder. As a result of this contract, called a licence agreement, the author or the rights holder receives remuneration for their copyright. Creative industries are industries that, in the broad sense of the word, invest in the creation and dissemination of new works, and they not only facilitate the relationship between authors, their work and audiences, but also supply society with the much-needed ingredients for cultural development and intellectual prosperity. They play a key role in encouraging future creativity by investing in new talent, technology and innovations that benefit individuals and societies alike.

 

3. Do I automatically get copyright protection, for example, if I take a photograph with my phone, or do I have to register my work to get protection?

Copyright protection arises automatically from the act of creation of a work and its fixation in any manner in a tangible form, and does not require any subsequent formalities with regard to its registration. This principle is nowadays almost universally accepted and stems from a number of international conventions. That said, a person becomes the author of a photograph as soon as he or she takes the photograph, provided that it is the result of his or her creative activity. In contrast to some national laws, which require some sort of registration to actually protect copyright against infringers, Bulgarian Copyright law is far too democratic and does not impose any such formalities on authors. Moreover, the Bulgarian Copyright and Related Rights Act provides for presumption of authorship, according to which as long as a person is identified as the author in the commonly accepted manner, the burden of proof to overturn the presumption in authorship disputes is on the party that challenges the authorship. In that context, any voluntary deposition of the work with a notary public, for example, can serve as important evidence in the course of legal disputes with regard to the date of creation and authorship, without registration being a prerequisite for invoking the rights.

 

4. What is copyright infringement? Can I get in trouble for copyright infringement? What if I wasn't aware that I infringed something protected by copyright?

Copyright infringement occurs, for example, when someone uses, copies or modifies a copyrighted work without the consent of the copyright owner. In Bulgaria, copyright infringement may lead to civil, criminal or administrative (for minor offences) liability. In cases of civil liability, the court may order the infringer to pay compensation to the rights holder, order that the illegal use be stopped, or prohibit the activity that constitutes illegal use, order the seizure and destruction of unlawfully produced copies of the protected works, including negatives, master copies, printing forms and others used for copying purposes, etc. Fault is presumed in civil litigation but this presumption can be refuted. If a copyright infringement constitutes a criminal offence under Article 172a of the Bulgarian Criminal Code, the court will examine the criminal intent of the offender. The sanctions are imprisonment and fines. In cases of misdemeanour, intent is also presumed. The sanctions are fines and pecuniary sanctions. Upon completion of criminal and administrative proceedings, the infringing items are forfeited and destroyed.

 

5. Under which conditions can I use a work protected by copyright created by another? I was told that using works created by others is simply a quote and thus is always allowed.

In general, a person who wants to use a work protected by copyright first has to obtain the consent of the author or the copyright owner. Authors and copyright owners can authorise other persons to use their works lawfully by means of a licence agreement, which has to be in writing to grant exclusive rights. In general, these agreements contain the actual terms under which the protected work can be used, such as term, territory, etc. Bulgarian Copyright law also provides for a closed list of exceptions under which persons can use others’ copyrighted works freely with or without payment of compensation. In these instances, explicitly listed under the law, one can use works created by others freely for a certain type of purpose and to a certain extent, provided that the name of the author and the source are indicated. It is important to point out that these exceptions do not apply to computer software.

 

6. Am I allowed to use music protected by copyright as a soundtrack for a home video that I made and want to upload on a video platform?

End-users are allowed to use music protected by copyright as a soundtrack for a home video, provided that the alteration, synchronisation and reproduction take place under the free use doctrine, that is, for personal use and not for commercial purposes, or for science or educational purposes. However, If the end-user wants to upload the home video to a video platform, he or she should obtain the consent of the authors and/or the copyright owners of the music because the upload requires making a copy of the work and making this copy available to an unlimited number of users, and these actions are excluded from the list of free use actions.

 

7. Am I allowed to give a copy of a work protected by copyright to a family member or a friend?

If a consumer would like to give his or her own copy of a protected work to a family member or friend, the consumer may do so, as the copyright over that particular copy was exhausted with the first sale. Consumers, however, are not allowed to make reproductions of their own copy for the purpose of giving them out to family or friends.

 

8. Am I allowed to download a work protected by copyright from the internet and does it matter which technology is used and whether I download only parts of the work?

You are allowed to download a work protected by copyright from the internet provided that you are authorised to do so by the author or copyright owner, or it is downloaded for personal use from a legal source. Any other unauthorised internet downloads of a copyright-protected work are prohibited by law, no matter which technology is used.

 

9. I tried to copy a movie from a DVD to my computer, but could not do it because of something called ‘Technical Protection Measures’. What is that and am I allowed to get around them in order to make private copies?

Technical protection measures are technologies or devices that restrict actions that are not authorised by authors or copyright owners of protected works, and enable control by authors or copyright owners of works by means of access codes, blurring or other similar control mechanisms. End-users are not allowed to “get around” technical protection measures, including for the purpose of making a private copy and if they do so without the consent of the copyright owner, they may face certain liability issues. In a number of explicitly listed cases of free use of copyright-protected works, the end-user may request the copyright owner to provide access to the work in question to the extent necessary for that type of free use.

 

10. What are copyright levies?

The system of copyright levies was introduced in the 1980s as the answer to the increased reproduction of printed works on paper by means of reprography and the development of technologies that allowed for extended use of appliances and devices for recording music and films at home. These extended possibilities for personal use of copyrighted works led to a decrease in the number of sales of media containing the copyrighted works themselves. Copyright levies were meant to restore the balance and provide authors and copyright and related rights holders with fair compensation for that type of use.

Based on the current Bulgarian legislation, copyright levies are due from manufacturers and importers of blank data media and are payable to collecting societies, which in turn distribute them among creators. In general, the manufacturers and importers of recording devices, such as libraries, schools and photocopying shops must pay levies, thus providing fair compensation for the work of authors, but to do this, amendments to the Copyright and Related Rights Act are necessary.

 

11. Am I infringing copyright if I watch a movie by streaming it instead of downloading it from the internet?

Under current Bulgarian legislation, an end-user that watches movies by streaming from an unauthorised source formally breaches copyright by making a temporary copy of part of the work that is being streamed. Due to the incidental nature and insignificance of the breach of copyright, these acts should not lead to the liability of the end-user. The actual infringement is committed by the unauthorised platform that reproduces permanent copies of the protected works and provides online access to an unlimited number of end-users, an act that significantly harms the legitimate interests of the copyright owners.

 

12. If copyright-protected works are included into my posts automatically by social media platforms, am I responsible for this and is this a copyright infringement? What if I link to them or embed them in my own website or blog?

If a copyrighted work is included automatically on a social media platform in the post of a user, based on the default social media settings, the user may not be held liable for a copyright infringement. However, if this happens as a result of manual settings that depend on the will of the end-user, he or she may be held liable. If the end-user links or embeds works that have been made available by the copyright owner on another website in his or her own website or blog, the end-user may not be held liable.

 

13. When I create a work and upload it online, terms and conditions of many sites ask for me to transfer my copyright to the site. Does that mean I lose all those rights in them for the future?

Granting a website your consent to use an uploaded work protected by copyright does not generally result in losing your copyright in the work. It depends on the particular terms and conditions, however, in most cases websites require a non-exclusive licence in order to exploit the work for the purpose of the website. In this case, the author keeps his or her copyright and may further authorise other sites to use the work in return for compensation. Only when the author grants his or her rights on an exclusive basis, is he or she no longer able to exploit the work himself or herself, or authorise others to use it for the term of the licence.

 

14. My avatar is based on my favourite movie star, cartoon character or sports club. Can I get in trouble for infringement of copyright or any other legislation because of this?

End-users who have based their avatars on images of film stars, cartoon characters or sports clubs can be held liable for copyright infringement or infringement of publicity rights.

 

15. How do I know whether a work is offered legally or illegally online? 

Consumers should be proactive when trying to understand whether a work is offered legally or illegally online .The lack of clear information about the authors of the works and the terms of use of the works is a clear indication that the works are not offered legally online.

 

Back to Top

Disclaimer

The answers to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) were finalised on the date indicated as the status date on the website. Gathering up-to-date information from 27 Member States is an extensive exercise. While the EUIPO tries to keep the information up-to-date, new case-law or legislative reforms may impact the content of the FAQs. Neither the EUIPO nor any person acting on behalf of the EUIPO is responsible for the use which might be made of the FAQs.

We use cookies on our website to support technical features that enhance your user experience. We also use analytics. Click for more information