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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: Hungary Read in: Magyar | 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’ (in the ‘continental’, civil law system means authors’ rights) refers to rights in literary and artistic works, while ‘related rights’ refers to rights in subject matter of certain fields related to copyright (e.g. the rights of performers, phonogram producers, broadcasting organisations, and, in the EU, producers of first fixations of films).

There are substantial differences between the copyright systems of countries following the civil law or ‘continental’ tradition and those of following the common law ‘Anglo-American’ tradition. The former system (applied in Hungary) is based on the recognition of authors’ rights as human rights and of a close personal relationship between the personality of the authors and their creations. As a result, national laws grant more generous moral rights to authors and also tend to protect their interests in their contractual relations with commercial users (such as publishers and producers). This may be accompanied by a prohibition on or limitation of the transferability of their economic rights (in addition to moral rights, which are not transferable at all). In this system, related rights are granted separately from, and generally offer a lower level of protection than authors’ rights (although the rights of performers — as human creators — are amongst the more generous of related rights and, in some aspects, similar to authors’ rights).

In the common law or ‘Anglo-American’ system, copyright is regarded as a legal instrument for promoting the creation of works and other productions and helping to make them available to society. Accordingly, moral rights are narrower and even authorship or original ownership of copyright is not necessarily conferred to the real intellectual creators. The  unrestricted transfer of economic rights is common practice, and creators tend to have weaker statutory protection (if any) in their contractual relations with commercial users (they have to defendtheir own interests through collective bargaining, in which they are represented by their societies, guilds or other organisations). Since this system focuses not on human creators and their personal relationship with their creations but on commercially exploitable products and services, the borderline between copyright and related rights is blurred: phonograms (sound recordings) and broadcasts are frequently recognised as ‘works’, and producers and broadcasters as ‘authors’.

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

In the civil law, ‘continental’ system, copyright (authors’ rights) — as mentioned in the answer to Question 1 — is based on the recognition of authors’ rights which deserve the same protection as the fundamental right to property due to the close personal relationship between authors and their creations. Therefore, normally, the authors, as intellectual creators, are the original owners of these rights. However, authors’ economic rights are very often transferred (licensed or even assigned) to commercial users (publishers, producers, employers, etc.). In order for copyright to function properly in accordance with its ‘advertised’ objectives, it is essential that national laws include provisions to guarantee that authors’ rights are transferred only as far as absolutely necessary for the intended use, and in such a way that the authors’ moral rights are fully protected and the economic rights remain as intact as possible. The same principles apply regarding performers’ rights. From the viewpoint of the balance of interests between human creators (authors and performers) as the original owners of the rights, and commercial users, account must also be taken of the fact that the achievements of certain categories of commercial users (producers of phonograms, producers of first fixations of films, broadcasting organisations, and — in the EU — database makers) are further protected by related or sui generis rights.

In the common law, ‘Anglo-American’ system, human creators (authors and performers) usually enjoy less statutory protection (if any) to establish and maintain a reasonable balance of interests in their contractual relations with commercial users. With moral rights tending to be limited, it is quite common for economic rights to be assigned in full to commercial users who, in certain cases, are recognised as the original owners of rights and even ‘authors’. This may weaken the credibility of copyright as a legal instrument for promoting and protecting intellectual creativity and its recognition by the general public as such. Nevertheless, real creators (authors and publishers) may — and, in fact, frequently do (though usually in a less visible way for the general public) — guarantee a reasonable balance of interests in this system too, through individual contracts (if the creators in question are already well known and successful) or collective negotiations (in which they are represented by their societies, unions or guilds, etc.).

The protection of copyright — as a legal mechanism that is indispensable for promoting the creation of valuable cultural products and services, and making them available — is in the interests not only of the creators and other rights holders, but also of consumers, society in general and the economy and culture as a whole. In order that the general, social, economic and cultural functions of copyright protection may properly prevail, a balance needs to be struck between, on the one hand, the protection of authors’ rights as human rights, and the property right of rights holders, and, on the other hand, other human rights, as well as general public interests and legitimate private interests. This balance is established by the international treaties, the EU directives and national laws partly by: (i) clarifying that only the original expressions of ideas and presentations of facts are protected, not the ideas and mere facts alone; (ii) excluding certain works (such as legal texts and political speeches) from protection; and (iii) providing for exceptions to and limitations to copyright and related rights (see the answers to Questions 5 to 8).

 

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?

Any literary and artistic work, including a photo taken with a mobile phone, enjoys copyright protection from the moment it is made, provided it is the result of its author’s own intellectual creation. There is no other condition to be fulfilled and thus it is not necessary either to register a work or to fulfill any other formality.

In Hungary, voluntary registration is possible at the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office (HIPO), but it has only an evidentiary effect, the facts registered shall be recognised as valid until the contrary is proved.

Likewise, there are no formalities to fulfill for the protection of related rights and the sui generis rights of creators of databases.

 

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 of copyright or related rights is: (i) performing any act of application without authorisation from the rights holder (noticing that, where an act is authorised but the use goes beyond the scope of authorisation, it is also infringement) or (ii) performing an act without paying remuneration where the Copyright Act does not subject the act to the rights holder’s authorisation but does require payment of remuneration. There are various possible legal consequences of infringement: both civil remedies and criminal or administrative sanctions. Where exceptions and limitations to copyright and related rights apply (hence the required conditions are met), the using of a work or a performance otherwise covered by copyright and related rights is not an infringement — see answers to Questions 5 to 8.

Various civil remedies may be applied, irrespective of whether or not the person who committed the infringing act is liable from the perspective of the civil law (i.e. whether or not they acted in a way that would have been expected in the given situation, meaning, inter alia, that he or she was aware of the infringement or could have been aware of it with due care in the given case). Under the Copyright Act, the rights holder may require: (i) the judicial confirmation of the infringement; (ii) ceasing of infringing activity and prohibition of further infringement; (iii) making amends for the infringing act by a statement or in some other manner, if necessary through appropriate publicity by and at the expense of the infringer; (iv) providing information on the parties involved in the production, distribution, communication or performance of infringing goods or services, as well as on any business relationships established for the infringing acts; (v) recovery of profits earned as a result of the infringement; (vi) restoration of the state of affairs existing prior to the infringement; (vii) seizing of infringing copies, along with equipment or materials used exclusively or primarily for infringement, by recalling them, definitively removing them from commercial circulation or destroying them. The latter remedies may also be applied where such copies, equipment or materials are owned by a person other than the infringer, but in this case only where that person was aware of the infringement, or could have been aware with due care in the given case. Where these remedies are applied, the court has to take into account the interests of third parties and ensure that the remedy is proportional to the gravity of the infringement.

In the event of infringement, the rights holders may also demand the payment of damages by the infringer and grievance fees (in case of violation of their personal rights) according to the general rules of the Civil Code (if the infringer did not act as would have been generally expected in the given situation).

Under the Penal Code and the Administrative Penal Act willful infringement of copyright or related rights carries the following penalties: (i) if the amount of the economic loss is minor (up to HUF 100 000 (EUR 1 = approx. HUF 317), it counts as an infringement under the Adminstrative Penal Act and is punishable by fines unless the right to make reproductions or to make material available online was infringed without the purpose of generating income, either directly or indirectly; (ii) if the economic loss is greater (between HUF 100 000 and HUF 500 000), it is a misdemeanour and punishable by up to two years of imprisonment unless the right to make reproductions or to make a work available online was infringed without the purpose of generating income, either directly or indirectly; (iii) if the economic loss is greater than HUF 500 000, it is a crime, and the punishment may be more than two years’ imprisonment, depending on the gravity of economic loss, whichin the event of a particularly significant loss may be up to ten years’ imprisonment.

 

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.

For exclusive authors’ rights and related rights, the authorisation of the rights holder is normally necessary. This may be given personally or through the rights holders’ collective management organisations, usually against payment of remuneration, but sometimes free of charge (through ‘open content’ licences). End users can often get access to protected content free of charge from sources financed by advertisers (with rights holders’ remuneration being a share of the advertising income). There are also cases where there is no need for authorisation but rights holders still have a right to remuneration (which end users pay indirectly through certain ‘levies’ — see the answers to Question 10 and to its sub-questions).

In some other cases, the use of works is free following under an exception (no authorisation needed nor remuneration required). On the basis of these exceptions, which are directly relevant also for end users, the following acts may be allowed, provided that the by law prescribed conditions are met: for example, private copying of certain works in certain ways, non-commercial use of works for the needs of disabled persons, quotation of works, use in public speeches made for information purposes, and use in reporting current events (in which case it is obligatory to indicate the source and the author’s name, unless this is impossible).

 

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?

Using music protected by copyright as a soundtrack for a home video or making it available online on a video platform requires the authorisation of the right holders. Those works that are no longer protected by copyright may be freely used, or in certain cases even protected works may be used for such purposes, given that the use corresponds to the legal provisions related to exceptions and limitations set out in the Copyright Act. Such cases allow e.g. the quotation of fragments from the soundtracks. According to some opinions of the Council of Copyright Experts even the use of protected works for creating parodies and making them available online may qualify as being lawful. However, this interpretation has not yet been set out in legal provisions in Hungary. This will slightly change with the implementation of Article 17 of the new copyright directive which will be in force from June 7, 2021. This Article provides that all Member States shall ensure that users are able to rely on any of the following existing exceptions or limitations when uploading and making available content generated by users on online content-sharing services: quotation, criticism, review; use for the purpose of caricature, parody or pastiche.

 

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

Yes, it is lawful to give a copy of a work protected by copyright to a family member or a close friend, provided it is a lawful copy (which means that it was created by reproducing such an original work that had been acquired legally by the reproducer) and it is given without the purpose of generating or increasing income.

 

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?

In general, it is permitted to download a work for private purposes from a lawful source on the internet regardless of the technology used, if it is done without the purpose of generating or increasing income. This download however shall not conflict with the normal exploitation of the work, and shall not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the author or other right holders. Exceptions to this rule are: (i) computer programs and databases operated by computer programs, and (ii) entire books, newspapers or other periodicals. It is irrelevant in this regard whether the work as a whole or only parts of it are downloaded.

In order to reduce the prejudice to the legitimate interests of authors (and other rights holders) caused by widespread private copying, remuneration is to be paid in the form of ‘levies’ on recording materials or devices (see also the answer to Question 10). In the case of ‘levies’, the law has not provided an exception (that can then be ‘compensated’ for) to the application of the exclusive right of reproduction but a mere right to remuneration. The amount of this remuneration (the so called blank tape levy or private copy levy) is in practice included in the price of those devices that are capable to store such downloaded works. Hence the buyer of these devices also pays the remuneration for downloading protected works and other subject matter onto them. Where the given device is proven not to be used for such purposes there is a possibility to claim a refund of these levies.

 

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?

A technological protection measure (TPM) is any technology, device or component that is designed in such a way that, in the normal course of its operation, it prevents or restricts acts that are not authorised by the right holder or by the law. Such measures are applied where necessary to exploit certain categories of works — such as films or e-books — and protect copyrights in the digital online environment. It is prohibited to circumvent technological measures (or to make available means and services for circumvention). In the event of circumvention, the same kinds of civil remedies and criminal sanctions may be applied as for infringements.

Certain exceptions — important from the viewpoint of the public interest — are exhaustively listed in Section 95/A(1) of the Copyright Act, such as illustration for teaching, certain internal uses by libraries and other beneficiary institutions, use as proofs in judicial or other official procedures, use by disabled persons that is directly linked to their disability, etc., which the right holders must be able to apply, despite the technical protection measure, provided that the beneficiary of the given exception has access to the work or object of related rights in a lawful manner. Under paragraph (2) of the Section 95/A, this exception does not apply – except the use by disabled persons that is directly linked to their disability - where, on the basis of a contract, the work or subject-matter of the related rights is made available to the public in a way that members of the public can choose the place and time of access individually.

Where the right holder and the beneficiary of an exception mentioned in the preceding paragraph are unable to reach an agreement on the conditions for the application of the exception, any of the parties may initiate mediation proceedings at the Mediation Body of the Council of Copyright Experts. The rules of the mediation procedure provide that, where the parties do not accept the settlement proposed by the Mediation Body, the beneficiary may request the court to order the right holder to make the application of the exception possible.

However, private copying in general is not among the exceptions for the applicability of which right holders are obliged to provide the means of circumvention. Section 95/A(1) of the Copyright Act only lists private copying by ‘reprographic reproduction’ as such an exception. Therefore, the private copying of films from DVDs protected by TPMs onto computers is only allowed with the permission of the right holders.

 

10. What are copyright levies?

The use of the English word ‘levy’ (also in other languages) to refer to the right to remuneration for private copying is unfortunate, because it may create the wrong impression that it is some kind of tax, which is not the case. Copying for private purposes may only be allowed as an exception to, or limitation of, the exclusive right of reproduction if it fulfils the conditions of the three-step test provided in Article 9(2) of the Berne Convention, Article 13 of the TRIPS Agreement, Article 10 of the WCT, Article 16 of the WPPT, Article 5(5) of the Information Society (Copyright) Directive, and in Hungary, Section 33(2) of the Copyright Act. Under these provisions, an exception to, or a limitation of, the exclusive right of reproduction (and of any economic right) may only be applied: (i) in a special case; (ii) provided it does not conflict with the normal exploitation of the work (or object of related rights); and (iii) further provided that it does not unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of authors (or other right holders). Private copying may be regarded as a special case, and, if the other two conditions of the test are also fulfilled, an exception to, or limitation of, the right of reproduction may be applied.

There are certain categories of works and situations where private copying without the authorisation of the right holders would conflict with the normal exploitation of works. In these cases, no exception or limitation is applicable. Therefore, the Hungarian Copyright Act excludes the application of any exception to, or limitation of, the exclusive right of reproduction in the case of architectural works, software and databases operated by computer programs, as well as the reprographic reproduction of sheet music and the reproduction of entire books, newspapers and other periodical publications in any manner other than by handwriting or typewriting.

In the case of ‘levies’, the law has not provided an exception (that can then be ‘compensated’ for) to the application of the exclusive right of reproduction but a mere right to remuneration. It was found that widespread private copying unreasonably prejudices the legitimate interests of right holders (since it reduces the market by a great extent for copies made or authorised by the right holders). This prejudice can be — and therefore should be — eliminated, or at least reduced to a reasonable level, through a modest payment (a ‘levy’) to be paid by the manufacturers, importers or distributors of the carriers or equipment, used for private copying (see also the answer to question No. 8).

 

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

Unless it takes place as a result of the unauthorised circumvention of TPMs (see Question 8), watching a film is, in general, not an infringing act in itself.

The burden of liability for unauthorised streaming (an interactive act of making a work available to the public) lies with those who make films available without an authorisation and, in accordance with the specific rules on their liability, with online intermediaries.

In the case of streaming, a temporary copy is created on the computer of the end user.  If this copy was made from a work acquired from an illegal source (e.g. from an infringing stream) then its creation in a strict sense might qualify as infringing. However, we are not aware of any cases where users have been sued on the basis of such an infringing act.

 

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?

For the use of works in social networks, the same copyright rules apply as in general. The unauthorised uploading of a work to an account is an infringement of the right of communication to the public (in the sense of interactively making a work available to the public), and, in some cases might also infringe the right of reproduction. The same exceptions and limitations apply (such as using works for quotations or for the creation of parodies).

An account holder is not liable if an infringing copy is included automatically (or otherwise) in his or her account by others. Nevertheless, liability may arise if the account holder becomes aware of the infringing material on the account and still does not take due measures to stop the infringing situation. It is important to note, however, that the operators of social networks mostly qualify as hosting providers and, as such, are obliged to act promptly in order to remove or block access to infringing material as soon as they become aware of it, in particular by a notice of the right holder. For this purpose, in certain countries, including Hungary, a notice-and-take-down procedure is available. The provisions of Section 13 of the Electronic Commerce Act regulate the procedure in detail, ensuring a due balance of interests in the three-way relationship between account holders, right holders and online intermediaries, and contain guarantees against the possible misuse of the system.

Under the current case-law of the Court of Justice of the European Union, unauthorised linking to protected works, in the form of deep-linking, embedding and framing, can qualify as infringement of the right of reproduction and the right of communication to the public (in the sense of making works available to the public online). The link is infringing in cases where the rights holders restrict access tot he work, and make it clear, by doing so, that they do not authorise linking to, and use of, their works without permission in websites other than the by them designated one (e.g. made available only on subscriber streaming services).

 

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?

Under the Hungarian Copyright Act, moral rights (the right of authorship, the right to be named or the attributon right, the right to protect the integrity of the work or the integrity right) are non-transferable and cannot be waived. This applies also where authors’ economic rights are transferred. In addition, the general rule is that economic rights may not be transferred either; only (non-exclusive or exclusive) licences for the use may be granted. Assignment is only possible in an exhaustive list of cases, namely in regard to: (i) works created under an employment contract; (ii) contributions to the creation of audiovisual works; (iii) computer programs (‘software’); (iv) databases; (v) works ordered for advertising purposes.

The Copyright Act and the Civil Code also contains several provisions to guarantee that, even in the case of licences, the transfer of rights should not go beyond what has been agreed on and that any doubts about the conditions of a transfer or assignment of rights should be interpreted in favour of the authors.

 

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?

In principle, no specific rules and legal norms apply to avatars from intellectual property rights, in particular copyright point of view. Insofar as images of a film star, a cartoon character or a sports club logo are used without authorisation, the same remedies and sanctions apply as for infringement of the personality rights of the film star, of the copyright on the cartoon character and of the trade mark of the sports club as in other cases. Likewise, the same defences may apply as in other cases of infringement; provided the conditions mentioned in the answer to Question 6 and its sub-questions are met. However, where such uses are of a non-commercial nature, do not conflict with the exploitation of the protected subject-matter  — for example, fans’ non-commercial use of the logo of their favourite sports club —, or do not infringe the personality rights or the good reputation of a person there might not be any real risks of users being sued.

 

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

There are certain websites whose services are obviously illegal, such as the Pirate Bay website, or the various ‘warez’ sites. In the case of some other sources, such as the various Torrent sites, the chances are quite high that end users may get access to protected content that has been made available unlawfully. Certain indicators may also be helpful; for example, on YouTube, videos accompanied by advertisements are usually authorised, while those without advertising may be questionable. In case of doubt, there are certain reliable sources of information available, such as www.educause.edu and the IFPI website (www.ifpi.org) at international level, or the websites of ProArt (Szövetség a szerzői jogokért; www.proart.hu) and the collective management organisations in Hungary.

However, persons who wish to have access to legal sources of copyright protected works or objects covered by related rights (sometimes against a modest fee and sometimes — in the case of legal websites supported by advertising — free of charge) will find an ample choice (e.g. iTunes – https://www.apple.com/itunes/, Google Play – https://play.google.com/store, Spotify – https://www.spotify.com, Dalok.hu – https://www.dalok.hu, Songs.hu – https://www.songs.hu, Bookline – https://bookline.hu, Netflix – https://www.netflix.com, HBO Go – https://hbogo.com,  etc.). The contractual systems of some of these websites may present problems from the viewpoint of authors and performers, since the shares they receive is not necessarily proportional. However, the sites are safe for law-abiding end users, who do not have to be concerned about the legality of the source.

 

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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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