Ownership and transfer

Eligible owners

Who is the owner of a copyrighted work?

The initial holder of both the economic and the moral right in a work is always the author of that work. Under Greek copyright law only natural persons - and not legal entities - can be considered as authors of a work.

Employee and contractor work

May an employer own a copyrighted work made by an employee?

The initial holder of both the economic and the moral rights in a work is always the author of the work, even in case that a work is created by an employee in the execution of his or her employment contract.

The employer may only become a subsequent owner of all or of certain economic rights in a work (the moral rights always remain with the author) through a transfer of these rights made either automatically, by virtue of the employment relationship, or expressly agreed between the parties in a written contract. More specifically:

  • When a work is created by an employee working in the private sector, unless otherwise provided for in the employment contract, only such economic rights as are necessary for the fulfilment of the purpose of the contract shall be exclusively transferred to the employer.
  • When a work is created by an employee working in the public sector in execution of his or her duties, then all the economic rights are automatically (ipso jure) transferred to the employer, by virtue of the employment relationship, unless otherwise provided for in the employment contract.
  • As far as computer programs are concerned, all the economic rights in a computer program created by an employee in the execution of an employment contract or following instructions given by his or her employer shall be automatically transferred to the employer, unless otherwise provided for in the employment contract.

May a hiring party own a copyrighted work made by an independent contractor?

The initial holder of both the economic and the moral rights in a work is always the author of the work, even in case that a work is created by an independent contractor by virtue of a hiring relationship. A hiring party may only become a subsequent owner of all or of certain economic rights in a work (the moral rights always remain with the author) through a transfer of these rights expressly agreed between the parties in a written contract.

Joint and collective ownership

May a copyrighted work be co-owned?

A copyrighted work may be co-owned either by persons or by entities. More specifically, two or more persons can co-own both the moral and the economic rights in a work, in case of joint authorship (collaborative works) or of a composite work, while two or more persons or entities can co-own the economic rights in a work in case of transfer of these rights by the author(s).

Transfer of rights

May rights be transferred?

Only the economic rights may be transferred between living persons or as mortis causa. The moral rights are not transferable between living persons, while after the death of an author, the moral rights pass to his or her heirs, who have to exercise the rights in compliance with the author’s wishes, provided that such wishes have been explicitly expressed.

Licensing

May rights be licensed?

The author of a work may either:

  • conclude contracts, by which he or she entrusts economic rights to another contracting party (the ‘exploitation contracts’) and in which case the other party undertakes the obligation to exercise the rights thus entrusted; or
  • authorise another person to exercise certain economic rights (the ‘exploitation licenses’), in which case the other party has the right, but not the obligation, to exercise the rights thus licensed.

Exploitation contracts and licences may be exclusive or non-exclusive. These contracts or licences may in no circumstance refer to all the future works of the author and shall never be deemed to refer to forms of exploitation that were unknown on the date of the contract.

Are there compulsory licences? What are they?

Greek copyright law provides for the following compulsory licences:

  • in case that technical means (such as audio or video recorders, magnetic tapes or other material suitable for the reproduction of sound or images, including digital reproduction devices and media) are used for the reproduction of a work for private use (which is permitted by Greek copyright law without the consent of the author), a reasonable remuneration is due to the author of the respective works and to the rights holders of certain involved related rights; and
  • when sound recordings are used for a radio or television broadcast by any means, such as wireless waves, satellite or cable, or for communication to the public, the user shall pay a single and equitable remuneration to the performers whose performances are carried on the recordings and to the producers of the recordings.

Are licences administered by performing rights societies? How?

The authors or the rights holders of related rights have the right to authorise a performing rights society (collecting society) of their choice to manage or to protect their economic right or certain powers deriving therefrom in relation to certain or to all of their works or other protected material, for the territories of their choice. This authorisation is voluntary, however, there are cases for which the law introduces an obligatory collective management or obligatory exercise of rights by a collecting society, as in the case of the collection of equitable remuneration deriving from private reproduction or when sound recordings are used for a radio or television broadcast by any means, such as wireless waves, satellite or cable, or for communication to the public (see question 28).

The authorisation may be granted by transfer of the right or of the relevant powers, for the purpose of management, either by power of attorney or by any other contractual agreement and is made in writing and for a certain period of time that cannot exceed three years.

The management of authors’ rights and related rights in Greece can be carried out collectively, through collective management organisations (CMOs) and independent management entities (IMEs) and the protection of these rights can be carried out by collective protection organisations (CPOs). At present, there are 17 CMOs (eight representing authors and nine representing holders of related rights) in Greece and two CPOs that are all licensed by the Minister of Culture and Sports and supervised by HCO.

The licensing of the use of the works is subject to the payment of a percentage fee, which is calculated based on tariff tables adequately communicated to the public by CMOs. When formulating and implementing their remuneration, CMOs must apply objective criteria, act without arbitrariness and avoid abusive discrimination. CMOs and representative user associations may also enter into agreements regulating the remuneration payable by the user to each category of rights holders as well as any other matter relating to parties’ relations.

Termination

Is there any provision for the termination of transfers of rights?

There are no such special provisions (only in relation to the duration of the transfer, the law states that, if the duration of the transfer of the rights is unspecified, it shall be deemed to be limited to five years). However, it is argued that the general rules of termination of an agreement may apply.

Recordal

Can documents evidencing transfers and other transactions be recorded with a government agency?

No, there is not any such agency.