Intellectual property

Third-party links, content and licences

Can a website owner link to third-party websites without permission?

Basically, yes. However, Polish law contains no explicit regulation concerning this issue and each case of linking should be considered individually, particularly with respect to the regulations of the Copyright Act and the Industrial Property Law Act of 30 June 2000.

Can a website owner use third-party content on its website without permission from the third-party content provider? Could the potential consequences be civil in nature as well as criminal or regulatory?

Under article 50(3) of the Copyright Act, making a work available to the public when and where the public chooses is one example of the fields of exploitation of the work, and this extends to the internet. The owner of rights in the work may use and dispose of such work in all fields of exploitation.

The website owner may not display a third party’s content that constitutes a work within the meaning of the Copyright Act without the express consent of the owner of the rights to that work.

However, the principles of permitted public use regulated by the provisions of the Copyright Act apply. In specific cases, a work can be used without the express consent of the copyright owner; however, this is without prejudice to his or her right to remuneration, if applicable. The consequences of unlawful use of a work may be of a civil as well as criminal nature under the Copyright Act as well as the Civil and Criminal Codes.

Can a website owner exploit the software used for a website by licensing the software to third parties?

Yes, if the website owner has copyright or licence rights to the software in the relevant exploitation field. If not, the copyright owner’s consent is required.

Are any liabilities incurred by links to third-party websites?

Displaying a link to any unlawful content may result in joint liability in law if there was knowledge of the nature of the content. The entity displaying a link may also be liable if the link is classified as unlawful advertising or the content or form of the link itself is contrary to law. So as not to be held liable, a given entity shall remove an infringing link as soon as it receives official or reliable information about the infringement.

Video content

Is video content online regulated in the same way as TV content or is there a separate regime?

The Radio and Television Act of 29 December 1992 sets forth different requirements and limitations to TV programme providers rendering their services through the internet as well as through standard means of TV signal transmission. Such entities are obliged to obtain a concession, or in the case of programmes provided entirely through the internet, an entry to a special register in order to provide their services. As to misleading or prohibited advertising, or as to the use of works under the Copyright Act, the same rules apply to online TV programmes and online video content that is not a TV programme. Otherwise, online video content and TV content are separate regimes.

IP rights enforcement and remedies

Do authorities have the power to carry out dawn raids and issue freezing injunctions in connection with IP infringement?

In the Polish jurisdiction, IP addresses in some cases may be recognised as personal data so, in cases of IP infringement, a civil procedure or a criminal procedure may be initiated resulting in a dawn raid or a freezing injunction.

What civil remedies are available to IP owners? Do they include search orders and freezing injunctions?

Generally, the rights and remedies under the Personal Data Protection Act are applicable thereto (they do not include search orders and freezing injunctions). However, in cases where IP infringement results in civil liability under the general rules of the Civil Code (for example, in cases of the breach of right to privacy, which is one of the personal rights under article 24 of the Civil Code), a freezing injunction may be issued (see also question 45).