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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: Lithuania Read in: Lietuvos | 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 a legal right that, within a certain territory, grants an author a bundle of exclusive rights to control the use of protected works. Related rights are legal rights that stem from results generally delivered in relation to an author’s work and that, within a certain territory, grant performers, phonogram producers, broadcasting organisations and producers of first fixations of audiovisual works a bundle of exclusive rights to control the use of performances, phonograms (sound recordings), broadcasts and first fixations of audiovisual works (films).

There are two types of copyright: pecuniary and non-pecuniary rights. Of all the holders of related rights, only performers are granted both of these rights. Other related rights holders (producers of phonograms, broadcasting organisations and producers of audiovisual first fixations) are granted only pecuniary rights.

Pecuniary rights are related to the exclusive right to control the use of creative results (e.g. to copy, reproduce, publish, sell, or publish on the internet). They are granted for a fixed period of time and may be transferred to third parties. By contrast, non-pecuniary rights (right of authorship, the right to the author's name, performer’s name and integrity of the work or performance) protect the author’s or performer’s personal and spiritual connection with the work or performance and, unlike pecuniary rights, are protected for an indefinite period of time and cannot be transferred to third parties.

The meaning and scope of copyright and related rights are not the same all over the world. It generally depends on what main copyright traditions the copyright protection system is based on (i.e. common law copyright or civil law author’s rights tradition). The civil law author’s rights tradition is centered round the author, who is always a natural person and the creator of the work. He or she is granted not only pecuniary rights but also moral rights, to ensure respect for his or her work and name. By contrast, the common law copyright tradition protects the interests of those who invested in and organised the creation of the work Therefore, copyright protects labour and investment, while author’s moral rights remain either unprotected or may be easily waived or transferred. Furthermore, the term ‘related rights’ is also alien to the common law copyright system: generally, the rights of performers, phonogram producers and broadcasters are covered by the term ‘copyright’ as this term is not associated with the author but concerns who has ‘the right to copy.’ However, due to several international copyright treaties, the Berne Convention and the TRIPS Agreement, these two systems are becoming more alike as Member States must afford the minimum protection set out in these treaties: they must afford copyright protection (including protection of moral rights) to authors who are nationals of any Member State, offer copyright protection that lasts for at least the life of the author plus 50 years, and ensure that copyright protection is granted automatically upon creation of the work.

 

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

The primary copyright holder in Lithuania is the author — a natural person and creator of the work. The author's moral rights always remain with the author, and after his or her death are supervised by his or her heirs or, in the absence thereof, by the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture. The author’s pecuniary rights may be transferred by an agreement, inheritance or any other order determined by law. Therefore, other persons may have acquired pecuniary copyright through an agreement signed with the author (e.g. a copyright agreement), through inheritance (e.g. heirs according to the issued notary certificate of inheritance) or through any other means determined by the law (e.g. an agreement with employers, producers of collective works (encyclopedias, dictionaries, periodical scientific collections, newspapers, magazines and other collective works) or producers of audiovisual works). Such rights holders are called derivative copyright holders.

The various sources recognise that copyright is the engine of cultural and even economic development. Research demonstrates the contribution made to the Lithuanian economy by creative industries through copyright and related rights. For instance, in 2009, it accounted for more than 6 per cent of GVA and 5 per cent of national employment. These indicators confirm that the creative industries are a productive part of the Lithuanian economy because, statistically, their employees create more than average added value. It is no secret that Lithuanian authors would not survive from creation alone. The author’s exclusive rights provide the author with opportunities to earn extra income from his or her creative activities, that is to say, to receive remuneration not only directly from his or her creative labour, but also from any further use of the creative results. Exclusive pecuniary rights are also important for creative industries, as possession of copyright allows them to protect their investment in creative results from appropriation by others, that is to say, by competitors and similar. If it were easy to appropriate or take over another person’s creative results, investment in the creation of new protected products would not be stimulated and, therefore, fewer quality products would be available to the public in the market.

 

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 in literary, scientific and artistic works is effective from the date of creation of the work irrespective of any formalities, such as registration of rights, deposition of the work, or marking of the work with the copyright symbol or other sign. Therefore, if you take a photograph with your phone, and the photograph is original (i.e. your own individual creation), you acquire copyright protection in the photograph automatically, that is to say, from the moment that the photograph is taken. However, it should be borne in mind that the author of the work may be a human being only, so should a photograph be taken, by chance, not by you but, for instance, by an animal, a robot or an automatic photography machine, the photograph will not acquire copyright protection. For example, in 2011, the British nature photographer David Slater tried to capture an image of macaques in Indonesia. After he had moved away from the camera, the macaques discovered the camera, already set for taking pictures, and took hundreds of photographs, including some successful images. The discussion is still ongoing as to whether these photographs are protected by copyright because, in spite of the added labour and investment in developing them, theywere actually taken by an animal, not a photographer, and therefore should not be protected by copyright under Lithuanian law. Observing certain formalities, while not mandatory for obtaining copyright protection, often makes it easier to prove ownership of the rights in copyright infringement cases. Indicating the author’s name and surname on the work in the usual manner transfers the burden of proof to the infringer, that is to say that the offender must prove that you are not the author of a work. In practice, marking a work with the copyright symbol not only fulfils the statutory function of informing the public about the copyright holder, but also makes it easier to prove who is the rights holder, especially when a work has been created in the course of one’s work functions or performance of one’s duties, because it is then considered that the employer is the rights holder, and the infringer has to prove otherwise.

 

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?

You infringe copyright when you use a protected work without the consent of the copyright holder or other duly authorised person and when there is no defence based on any copyright exception or limitation, for example when you photocopy the whole of a protected book, make a protected book available on the internet, copy the work from unlawful sources on the internet, use another person’s work without indicating his or her name and/or refer to it as your own creation (plagiarising), or distort another person’s work.

Copyright infringement can cause you legal problems: you can be fined and, in very serious cases, imprisoned. The copyright holders can also use other measures to enforce their rights: they may require payment for material and/or non-pecuniary damage caused by the infringement, terminate ongoing infringement and/or prohibit future infringement, seize and destroy illegal copies, and so on. The fact that you did not know that you had infringed something protected by copyright does not exempt you in any way from liability, although milder consequences may then be applied: generally, you will have to cease infringement, return illegal copies and repay the profits earned from the infringement.

 

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.

Protected works created by others may be used only when authorised by the rights holder or the law. In certain cases, the law provides for copyright limitations and exceptions for the benefit of users in order to guarantee them the right to information or freedom of expression, or to ensure availability of the protected works for the most socially vulnerable persons.

Copyright limitation or exception means that in special cases indicated by the law you may use a protected work without the rights holder’s permission, and in some cases without paying him or her any remuneration. However, this is possible only within the framework of the statutory conditions. The law allows the use of a work for private purposes, quotations, training and research purposes, and so on. Thus, quotation is one permitted free use of the work, but use of the work will not always qualify as a quotation. According to the law, a quotation is a relatively short excerpt from another work, used either to demonstrate the author’s own statements or make them understandable, or to refer to another author’s view or thoughts, using the original wording. However, it is possible by law to quote another person’s work free of charge provided that:

  • you reproduce, publish and communicate it to the public (which includes making it available to the public via computer networks) (only certain uses allowed);
  • the excerpt is ‘relatively short’;
  • the quotation is from a lawfully published work or one made available to the public, is literary or scientific (works of art are not included), and is in both the original and a translated language;
  • it is in the form of a quotation (for such purposes as criticism or review) in another work;
  • such use is in accordance with fair practice;
  • the quotation does not exceed the extent required by the specific purpose;
  • the source, including the author’s name, is indicated, wherever possible.

Thus, the use of a work as a quotation is permissible only if you copy, publish or make publicly available (e.g. on the internet) a relatively short excerpt from a legitimate literary or scientific work, essentially to prove or substantiate your own statements or to illustrate the views and opinions of others, and you provide the source and name of the author wherever possible. If the source or author is unknown, the user should clearly indicate that the excerpt is another person’s creation, for instance by placing the quoted text between quotation marks and indicating that it is a quotation from another source.

 

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?

Authors have exclusive pecuniary rights (the exclusive right to carry out certain acts themselves or prohibit these acts to others) and non-pecuniary rights to their works. When you use protected music as a soundtrack to your home video, which will be uploaded to a video platform, the acts involved are likely to include adaptation, reproduction and publication. When such acts are made without permission from the rights holder, it is very likely that copyright will be infringed. Copyright restrictions may be applied to user-generated content. For example, it may be permitted to record a music work for private non-commercial use, and to quote lyrics, but such videos may only be used for your own needs, or the needs of family or friends, and for non-commercial purposes. Uploading your home video with a soundtrack to a video platform makes it available to the public, that is to say, involves an act that falls exclusively within the remit of the rights holder and, therefore, infringes copyright.

 

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

This situation is not completely settled by law, but according to legal doctrine you are allowed to make and give one copy of a work protected by copyright to a family member or a friend on the basis of the private copying limitation insofar as such act does not amount to public lending (an act exclusively restricted to the rights holder). Certain conditions must be fulfilled for private copying to be lawful.

  • The copy must be a single copy of the work from a legal source (from a work lawfully published or communicated to the public) or a copy of a lawfully published article or any other short work, or a short extract of writing, with or without illustrations if the copying is effected by means of reprography.
  • Reproduction must have been made to meet the needs of a natural person.
  • The copy must be exclusively for your private use.
  • The copy must not be for commercial advantage.
  • The rights holders must receive fair compensation as laid down by the law.

The private copying exception does not apply to works of architecture in the form of buildings or other construction works, computer programs (with the exceptions provided for in the law), electronic databases (with the exceptions provided for in the law), whole texts of books or substantial part thereof, or sheet music.

If you purchase a copy of a copyright-protected work that has been legally distributed, you may also give it as a gift or even sell it — not only to a family member or friend, but also to other persons.

 

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?

Downloading a work from the internet to your computer constitutes an act of reproduction within the scope of the exclusive right of reproduction. The latter covers the direct or indirect, temporary or permanent making of a copy (copies) of a work in whole or in part by any means and in any form, including electronic. Therefore, downloading (even only part of) a work protected by copyright to your computer by any means of technology falls within the scope of the exclusive right of reproduction controlled by the author or other copyright holder. However, there are several instances where you may download a work protected by copyright from the internet. First of all, downloads are lawful within the framework of a licensing agreement, for instance under the creative commons attribution licence from www.flickr.com, which allows you to download work free of charge as long as you give the author credit. Secondly, the private copying limitation allows you to download a work, other than a computer program or electronic database, from the internet as long as you are sure that you are doing so from a legal source and will be using it only for your private non-commercial needs. Thirdly, under certain conditions, very limited in scope, you may also lawfully download certain works, placed lawfully on the internet for information purposes, for the purposes of illustration and teaching and scientific research or for the needs of disabled persons.

 

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?

Technological protection measures (TPMs) refer to any technology, device or component designed to control access to digital works and to protect them from illegal use (e.g. encryption measures, watermarking, DRM). You are not allowed to circumvent TPMs in order to make private copies. You have the right to require the rights holder to provide measures (decoding devices, etc.) to enable you to make a private copy. If the rights holder does not agree to do so, you have the right to apply to the Lithuanian Commission on Copyright and Related Rights (theCommission) to mediate for access to a work. If you are not satisfied with the Commission’s decision or if the rights holder does not comply with the Commission’s decision on granting access, you may apply to have the conditions for granting access to a work fixed by the Vilnius County Court.

 

10. What are copyright levies?

Copyright levies provide rights holders with statutory remuneration for non-commercial private copying of protected works. The remuneration is paid by sellers of blank media and recording and photocopying devices, as well as photocopying service providers, to the collecting societies, which later distribute the levy to the rights holders. However, users actually pay the copyright levy when they purchase a blank medium or device or use a photocopying service, as the amount of the copyright levy is added to the purchase price in a similar way to VAT.

 

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

No, you are not infringing copyright if you watch a film by streaming it instead of downloading it from the internet, as long as you do it within the framework of a licensing agreement or stream it from a lawful source, that is to say, from a source where the film has been made available for streaming with the consent of the rights holder).

 

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?

The uploading of a work to a social media post constitutes an act of reproduction and an act of publication to the public, both of which acts are restricted to the rights holder. You may upload a work to your social media post within the framework of a licensing agreement or on the basis of a copyright limitation, for instance, for promoting the public exhibition or sale of artistic works, or in connection with the exhibition or repair of equipment, You may also, for information purposes, upload publicly released articles on current economic, political or religious topics or broadcast works of the same character, political speeches, etc.

If the works have been made available by the rights holder on another website, this does not mean that you are free to include them in a post of your own. However, you may link or embed them in your own website or blog, as such acts do not constitute either reproduction or communication to the public if the works are freely available on another website and if they are communicated using the same or very similar technical means as the initial communication.

If copyright-protected works are uploaded automatically to your page on a social media platform, you may be held liable for copyright infringement if you consented to such ‘automatic’ uploading of copyrighted works and did not take any steps to ensure that no infringing content existed on your post, as you are generally able to control apps that post protected works automatically. If the social media platform provides apps that can upload protected works to your page without the rights holder’s consent but with yours, and in this way assists you in infringing copyright, the service provided by the social media platform is not a technically passive one, and the social media platform may be held jointly liable with you for 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?

When you create a work and upload it online, and the terms and conditions of the sites concerned ask you to transfer copyright in the work to the site, this does not mean that you have lost all your rights in them forever. Firstly, moral rights cannot be transferred but remain with the creator even after the transfer of pecuniary rights to other persons. Secondly, you will retain all pecuniary rights in respect of all future works not clearly identified in the agreement. Thirdly, the site will not have the right to uses of a work that did not exist or were unknown at the time of the transfer of rights. Fourthly, if the agreement does not specify time limits for the transfer or granting of the rights, you can terminate the agreement by informing the site in writing of the termination thereof one year in advance. Fifthly, if your agreement contains only a very general provision on copyright transfer without indicating in detail the uses of the works transferred, you will be considered to have transferred only the minimum rights needed to achieve the purpose of the agreement. Sixthly, if an agreement does not indicate the territory covered, the transfer or grant of pecuniary rights will be valid only for the territory of Lithuania. Seventhly, if the terms of an agreement go beyond what is allowed (by law), e.g. the agreement contains provisions that say you have transferred the moral rights or your pecuniary rights to unidentified future works, this part of the agreement is considered invalid from the moment that the agreement was concluded, meaning that these terms are not binding on you.

 

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?

Creating and using avatars based on original creative works protected by copyright (e.g. cartoon characters, sports club images) or personal images (e.g. movie stars) may result in infringement of copyright and other IP rights such as trade mark rights and design rights, as well as of laws on unfair competition and personality rights to the image or name. However, you are allowed to create and use an avatar made of works or elements of works protected by copyright and other IP rights if you use it for personal non-commercial purposes, that is to say, within a close circle of family and friends. You may also use images of your favourite film star if his or her photo was taken in connection with his or her public performance or in a public place, provided that the photo or part thereof is not used in such a way as to damage his or her honour, dignity and professional reputation.

 

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

The copy source is considered lawful if it is reproduced and made available online with the consent of the rights holder or his or her duly empowered representative, or if it is based on the copyright limitation or exception. Admittedly, it is not always easy to determine whether the online source from which you make a private copy is lawful. However, this does not mean that you should not make any effort to find this out. Generally, you can assume that a source is legal if the information provided on the site indicates that the site belongs to the rights holder or official representative thereof, or if the site is known to belong to a legal music, video or book licensing system, to a creative commons licensing scheme, to a local, national or international news portal, to a national or local library or to some other public institution. It is highly doubtful that the source will be lawful if the copy is made through a file sharing system. Other helpful indicators are typically the price and the quality of a recording. Legitimate products are unlikely to be offered for downloading or streaming free of charge. If you have any doubts about the legality of a source, you are advised to make enquiries with the rights holder (if his or her name and contact details are available), the collecting societies, which represent the interests of rights holders, or another rights holders’ association.

 

 

 

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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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