In the spring of 2017, an amendment to the Czech Copyright Act came into force, introducing a number of changes in the field of collective management of copyright, as well as a substantial extension of the existing, or the emerging of new, statutory licences.
The primary objective of the amendment is to transpose the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on collective management of copyright into Czech law, and to introduce more stringent and transparent rules in this area. For example, the amendment makes the requirements on the performance of activities of collective rights managers stricter and more comprehensive, and deals with the remuneration and legal form of such managers.
Other significant changes brought by the amendment include the extending of a licence to architectural works. The scope of the original statutory licence that only related to already executed constructions will be extended to also cover architectural works outlined in a drawing or plan. Another important piece of news is that the employee’s consent to the transfer of the exercise of the author’s property rights is deemed to be irrevocable, even with regard to any subsequent assignments.
An important step towards greater artistic freedom is the introduction of a completely new statutory licence for caricature and parody, referred to in § 38g of the Copyright Act, which sets out that no copyright is infringed by a person who uses the work for caricatures or parodies. This licence stems from the so-called Information Society Directive (Directive 2001/29/EC) and has already been applied in a number of European Union countries. When interpreting the term caricature or parody, it is necessary to take as a basis the general understanding of this term, and the case law. One can infer from these sources that a parody is a work that reminds an already existing work, but is distinct from it and is comic or ironic. Again, as with other statutory licences, the use of the work for caricature or parody may not contradict the normal use of the work and interfere with the author’s interests.