In its judgment dated 23 June 2015 (SK 32/14) the Constitutional Tribunal of Poland has ruled that the current mechanism of calculating damages for willful copyright infringement - awarding triple the amount of the infringed work market-based remuneration value - is unconstitutional.
The Tribunal stressed that a copyright holder cannot claim compensation which is disproportionate to the damage suffered. In the view of the Tribunal, the contested provision violates the basic principle of “damage-remedy” proportionality and substantially interferes in the financial freedom of the infringer. Self-acting multiplier in the damages claim cannot lead to the total loss of proportions between the damage suffered and its compensation.
The judgment of the Tribunal is final and took effect as of 1 July 2015. As a result, the respective provision of the copyright law - triple remuneration - is no longer available as a remedy for copyright infringement. The consequence of the said judgment is an open case study. It is unknown if the similar provision existing in the Polish copyright law – double remuneration for involuntary infringement – would not be contested by the Tribunal for similar reasons as explained by the Tribunal in its last judgment.