On 1 January 2016 the new Copyright Act comes into effect in Slovakia. This new legislation introduces several changes to the existing Copyright Act. Licensing agreements executed before 1 January 2016 will be governed by the Copyright Act currently in place (Act No. 618/2003 Coll. as amended).

The following are some of the key changes under the new Act:

LICENSING AGREEMENT

Under the new Copyright Act, licensees holding exclusive licenses to copyrighted work must actually use the license (unless otherwise stipulated in the contract). In the event the licensee fails to use the license within one year of the date the exclusive license was granted, the author is entitled to withdraw from the licensing agreement. To do so, the author shall submit a written request to the licensee requesting him to use the exclusive licence. If the licensee takes no action, the author may withdraw from the agreement.

LICENSING AGREEMENT FOR PUBLISHING WORKS

Under the new Copyright Act, licensing agreements for publishing works are defined as licensing agreements allowing the licensee to make reproductions of literary works, theatrical works, musical works, photographic works, other works of creative arts or cartographic works and to distribute such copies or to make them available to the public.

Adopting existing law, the new Copyright Act provides that licensing agreements for publishing works will be assumed to be exclusive, unless otherwise indicated (for example, where a licensing agreement is for publishing works contained in periodic publications). This is an exception to the general rule that unless a licencing agreement expressly states that the author grants an exclusive license, the agreement will be understood as being non-exclusive.

PUBLIC LICENSE

The new Copyright Act also contains provisions governing public licenses for licensing online, where the number of potential users is not pre-determined. According to these provisions, the author may grant the license to unknown users. Licensees must take certain actions to indicate their acceptance of the license conditions, such as consenting to the license terms and conditions by clicking a dialogue box.

EXTENDED MASS LICENSING AGREEMENT

The new Copyright Act introduces the possibility of an extended mass licensing agreement which enables the licensee to obtain consent from the collecting society to use all works of the rights holders, including of those who are not represented by the collecting society. All rights holders not represented by the society are entitled to exclude collective management of their economic rights by way of a written notice exercising their ‘opt-out’ right.

Extended mass licensing agreements are only permitted in limited uses defined in the new Copyright Act.

MULTI-TERRITORIAL MASS LICENSING AGREEMENTS FOR ONLINE USE OF MUSICAL WORKS

The new Copyright Act also introduces the novel, multi-territorial mass licensing agreement, a type of mass licensing agreement that enables collecting societies to grant consent to use of works in more than one EU member state, based on EU Directive 2014/26/EU.

Previously, granting approval for using works across several states was impossible, as intellectual property rights, including copyright, are strictly territorial.

This multi-territorial mass licensing agreement reflects the reality of using copyrighted works, yet the consent is only limited to online use of musical works by making reproductions of such works online and online communication of such works to the public.