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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: Estonia Read in: Eesti | 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 exists in literary, artistic and scientific works. Works are any original results in the literary, artistic or scientific domain which are expressed in an objective form and can be perceived and reproduced. The author has the moral and economic rights.

There is another set of rights called related rights owned by a performer, producer of phonograms, broadcasting service provider, producer of the first fixation of a film, a person who, after the expiry of copyright protection, for the first time lawfully publishes or lawfully directs at the public a previously unpublished work, a person who publishes a critical or scientific publication of a work not protected by copyright, and a maker of a database.

Law on copyright and related rights is not always the same all over the world. We can make a distinction between common law copyright and civil law author’s rights. The former prioritises the economic dimensions of copyright while the latter prioritises the non-economic (moral) dimensions.

 

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

The author of a work is the natural person or persons who created the work. The moral and economic rights of an author initially belong to the author. Works created in the framework of an employment belong to the employer. The author can contractually transfer his/her economic rights (e.g. sell). The copyright system benefits the author, industry and society. The author has incentives to create knowing that the works are protected. Industry can commercially exploit works and objects of related rights (e.g. performances, phonograms). Society can enjoy new products and services as the copyright system provides an incentive for their creation. Creativity enriches culture, new products and services enhance the economy and welfare. Additionally, society is allowed to use works for personal use and for educational purposes without authorisation and payment.

 

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?

Yes, you get copyright protection with the creation of the work. Creation means the moment of expression of the work in any objective form that allows its perception and copying. This means that you get copyright protection when you, for example, take a photograph. You do not have to register your work.

 

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?

Infringement is the unlawful use of a work or an object of related rights. In case of an infringement, the rights holder can demand compensation and termination of the unlawful use. It is not relevant whether you know or not that works are protected by copyright or works are made available on the internet without the rights holder’s authorisation. Despite your lack of knowledge, you may still have to pay compensation to the rights holder.

 

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.

Without the author’s permission works may be reproduced and translated for personal use and non-commercial purposes. In other cases, the use depends on the rights holder’s permission. The use can be allowed under standard licences such as Creative Commons. You can also conclude a licence agreement that meets your needs. Summarising and quoting a work without authorisation and payment is allowed following simple rules: you mention the name of the work, author and source. The user should not exceed the length of the quotation as justified by its purpose and not change the idea or meaning of the original work as a whole.

 

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?

You are allowed to use music for your personal use and show videos to friends and family but you are not allowed to upload the video without permission. If it is not important to use your favourite songs, use ‘royalty-free music’. Some conditions of use may apply but it is safer and cheaper. Otherwise, adding music to another work (your home video) and making it available on the internet could violate moral rights such as the right of integrity of the work, the right of additions to the work, and the right of protection of the author’s honour and reputation. If you forget to mention the author’s name, you also violate the right of authorship. The addition of music to a home video and its subsequent upload to the internet also affects economic rights such as the right to reproduction (you make a copy when you upload), the right to alteration of the work (you add music to a video) and the right of making the work available to the public (you communicate it to the public). Since the music you use is performed by someone and you could have copied it from a phonogram then you violate some of related rights as well.

 

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

Yes, you are. If you have bought a work (e.g. a book, cd) or received it as a gift, you can freely sell it or give it away for free to anyone. If you make a copy of the work, it has to be compatible with the personal use exception: 1) you can copy lawfully published works; 2) the copy has to be made for personal use by a natural person and, 3) you must not copy for commercial purposes. Copyright law does not say what is meant by ʻpersonal useʼ. However, it defines ʻthe publicʼ as an unspecified set of persons outside the family and immediate circle of acquaintances. Thus, giving a copy to a family member or a friend is allowed.

 

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?

Legally, downloading means reproducing – you make a copy of the work. You as a natural person are allowed to download a copyright protected work for your personal use as long as it is published lawfully. The problem here is that ‘internet’ is not a source itself and you have to make sure yourself whether the actual source is lawful or not. For example, when there is a download button on Soundcloud, downloading is allowed but you cannot be sure about the lawfulness when using torrents. It does not matter whether you download an entire work or only parts of the work. If you make the work available for uploading at the same time, you also violate publishing rules.

 

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?

The authors or owners of related rights may indeed add some technological tricks to prevent you from making copies. However, the exemption for free use still applies, so you are allowed to make private copies. When you cannot do it because of technological measures, then the rights holder has to adjust such measures so that you can make a copy. If the rights holder does not cooperate, you can make an application to the copyright committee. You are not allowed to remove technological measures yourself. Removal is punished as a misdemeanour only if it is done outside personal use in order to gain benefits.

 

10. What are copyright levies?

Copyright law distinguishes uncompensated and compensated limitations. For instance, the author is not entitled to any compensation if you quote the author’s work. However, there are uses for which authors have to be compensated. Copyright levies are meant to remunerate rights holders for private use of audiovisual works and sound recordings of works. On the one hand, the consumer can copy audiovisual works or sound recordings of such works. Yet, the author, the performer of the work and the producer of phonograms are entitled to receive equitable remuneration for the use. Private use of audiovisual works and sound recordings of works is compensated to rights holders through a scheme in which a special fee (levy) is added to storage media and recording devices. Authors (rights holders) are entitled to receive compensation for the photocopying of their works.

 

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

You are not infringing copyright if you watch a movie by streaming. The Copyright Act says that temporary copying of the work which occurs as an integral and essential part of a technical process is allowed.

 

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?

You probably have some control over the automatic addition function on the social media platforms you use. If your post includes copyright protected content (e.g. a home video with music created by someone else) then you can be held responsible for copyright infringement. If the addition is totally out of your control and takes place without your knowledge, then you are not responsible for copyright infringement.

You are allowed to link or embed copyright protected content which has been made available lawfully. Linking and embedding from legal source is not copyright infringement.

 

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?

As an author you have the economic and moral rights. You are entitled to transfer your economic rights, but moral rights are not transferrable. They are personal. If you transfer the economic rights, you will still be named as the author but you do not control the work anymore. The Estonian Copyright Act provides that the contract regulating the transfer of rights has to be in written form. Non-compliance with this requirement, however, does not render the contract void. To sum up, if you transfer your rights, you lose them.

 

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?

When you use your avatar on the internet, you could potentially infringe copyright and personality rights. On the one hand, a cartoon character is protected by copyright and/or trademark and a movie star has the right to object to the unjustified use of their name or image. On the other hand, the use of an avatar can be justified by fundamental rights such as free speech. Currently, the creation and use of avatars is not clearly regulated.

 

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

The Copyright Act does not provide a list of indicators, which could help to establish the lawfulness of a source. The use of certain technologies such as torrents might indicate the existence of potentially illegal sources. However, it is more important to look at the content of the site as well. If it offers works for download, which are usually sold, (e.g. new movies, musical albums, proprietary software, etc.) and/or contains many different works, this might imply illegal activity. It is safer to use works offered by official websites (e.g. the official web page of Microsoft for software) and well known and recognised content providers (e.g., Flickr for pictures with Creative Commons licence, whereas YouTube may have illegally published content).

 

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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.

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