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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: Romania Read in: Română | 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 protects most of the creations of the human mind, generally called works, provided that they are original. Additionally, related rights protect specific contributions that are important for the dissemination of copyrighted works. Although most provisions referring to copyright and related rights are very similar in most parts of the world, as a result of European and international legislation, differences still exist, even among the Member States of the European Union.

 

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

Anyone can own copyright in the works he or she creates. Even creating a part of a work can entitle whoever makes the contribution to copyright. In this way, any person can benefit from his or her creation. Copyright ensures that authors are motivated to create and continue creating, rights holders are motivated to disseminate the original works thus created, and society can progress by using those works and adding to them when their copyright expires or when it is in society’s interest, by allowing use of the works even before the expiry of copyright.

 

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 is granted to the author of the work, irrespective of any formalities, from the moment the work is created and it meets the criteria for protection, even if the work has not been finished or made public. In general, for a work to be protected by copyright it must be ‘the author’s own intellectual creation’, which in Romania means that a work needs to be expressed in a concrete form, to be original (i.e. it bears the mark of the author’s personality) and to be in a form that can be perceived by others. Therefore, if a photograph taken with a mobile phone meets the criteria for protection, copyright will exist in the photo from the very moment it has been taken, no registration is necessary. A photograph taken with a mobile phone will normally meet the criteria for protection whenever the photographer has individually chosen all or some of the various elements that influence how the final photograph looks (e.g. setting, lighting, pose of the subject, angle, aperture, exposure).

 

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?

In general, copyright infringement refers to using a copyrighted work without proper authorisation. Many acts of use of a work (whether it is making a copy, giving that copy to someone else, uploading the copy to the internet or modifying it in order to show it to someone else) can amount to copyright infringement. There are serious consequences for copyright infringement, as both criminal and civil claims can be made against you. Even if not knowing that the act was infringing may reduce the risk of a criminal conviction, ignorance does not help with civil liability, which means that you may have to pay high damages to the rights holders.

 

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.

Any copyrighted work can be used, as long as there is proper authorisation for doing so from the rights holder. Where no such authorisation exists, use of copyrighted works must fall within the scope of the limitations expressly provided by law in order to be legal. Copyright law provides some (albeit comparatively strict) limitations to the exclusive rights that ensure that for some uses you do not need authorisation. However, although any type of work can be quoted, there are several conditions to be met for a quote to be lawful: the quoted work must be public, the quote must be made according to fair practice in the field, it must not cause unjustified damage to the rights holder or the normal use of the work, the length of the quote used must be justified by the purpose, the purpose of use must be one of those provided by law and, most importantly, the author and the source of the quoted work must be indicated except where this would prove 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?

Use of a musical work as a background for a home video is an act that infringes the copyright in the musical work (and probably also in certain related rights). Although making a copy of music to use as a soundtrack for a home video might qualify as a private copy and therefore not be, in itself, an act of infringement, specific authorisation is required in order for anyone to then actually use the musical work as a soundtrack for a home video. The same is true for uploading a home video created in this way to a video platform.

 

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

The Copyright Law allows authorised users of a work to make a copy of the work for themselves or for the use of close family and friends, but only where certain conditions are met: the copied work must have been made public, the private copying must not affect the normal use of the copied work and the reproduction must not cause harm to the rights holder.

 

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 copyright-protected work from the internet, irrespective of the technology used, is very likely to infringe rights in the work. The same is true where only parts of the work would be downloaded (except where the downloaded parts would not amount to something protected by copyright). In order not to infringe, you would either need to have authorisation from the rights holder to make the download, or fall within a limitation to copyright (e.g. where the download would qualify as a private copy). This could be applicable where you own an authorised copy of a work (not a computer program, however) and you make a new copy of that work solely for your personal use or for the use of the ‘family circle’, even if that copy has been made by downloading it from the internet. In order not to infringe you would have to make sure that when downloading you are not simultaneously allowing others to upload 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?

‘Technical Protection Measures’ are devices or technologies blocking or limiting certain uses of a work that would fall within the scope of the copyright. These are measures implemented by rights holders to prevent unauthorised use of their works. These might, however, also block acts that are permitted by law, such as the making of private copies. Although making private copies is permitted by law, you must not circumvent technical protection measures in order to make private copies. In most cases you can ask the rights holder to provide you with the means for accessing the work.

 

10. What are copyright levies?

Copyright levies are special taxes that are collected to compensate the authors and rights holders for the private copies of their works, since these are made without their authorisation. The remuneration is due for devices (e.g. photocopiers, printers, DVD-writers) and media capable of being used to make private copies (e.g. blank paper, blank DVDs).

 

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

Watching a film by streaming is not infringing copyright, as long as the stream is lawful, which usually requires that the person providing the stream is properly authorised to do so. Watching a movie by streaming where the stream is not authorised is not necessarily better than downloading the film without authorisation. Both acts would be held to be infringing copyright in the film.

 

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 might be held to be infringing copyright even where copyrighted works are automatically included in your posts by social media platforms. Although linking to or embedding the works might not constitute an infringement in some cases (e.g. where the rights holder had already allowed public access to the work online), such acts would most likely be found to infringe copyright in other cases (e.g. where the content being linked to or embedded content is infringing).

 

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?

Transfers of copyright follow, in many respects, special rules that are meant to protect authors. Therefore, not only is the scope of transfer understood very narrowly (i.e. all rights not specifically mentioned as being transferred are considered not transferred), but the author retains important means of either ending the contract or having the terms of the contract revised in a manner that ensures that the share of the benefits from the work is not unbalanced against the author.

 

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?

Although there may be some situations where you could find yourself in trouble because your avatar includes elements protected by copyright or other IP rights, such situations would be exceptional. In general, use of elements from the images of film stars, cartoon characters or sports clubs to create an avatar would not infringe the rights in the works, since this would not undermine the functions these rights are meant to ensure. The precise circumstances of the use and the purpose of an avatar can give an indication as to the lawfulness of its use, especially when the use is made in connection with an activity infringing copyright in itself, for example, use of such an avatar for the sale or distribution of materials infringing the rights in the copyrighted works that inspired the avatar.

 

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

While the quickest rule of thumb to determine whether a copy is legally offered online is to assess the reliability of the seller, if in doubt, consumers can check for themselves whether the seller is licensed by the relevant collective management societies (i.e. associations that manage certain rights of authors and other rights holders) to provide such copies. Other clues as to the legality of the service can be found in the way these services offer the works in question: a clear and transparent indication of the payment plans and invoicing procedures, the clear mention of registered names, addresses, explanations regarding consumer protection rules and fiscal identifiers, can all suggest that the works are legally offered. Indiscriminate free access, services requiring that the user also provide access to the works for others, the requesting of payment by donations, and invoicing under a different company name are all indications that should raise suspicions as to the legality of the offer of such works.

 

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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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