The state of copyright and related rights in audiovisual industry in Croatia
We have previously discussed this issue concerning Serbian Law on Copyright and Related Rights, but Serbia is not the only country of the Balkans region that needs some revising in this area. Croatian experts on the subject of intellectual property and copyright also find these laws lacking and are pushing for a clear and more strict law to protect the rights of authors, especially when it comes to the art and cinematography.
A round table concerning copyrights, held as a part of the film festival in Pula, Croatia, raised the question of payment for authors of audiovisual art, among others. Also, there was talk of film copyright and related rights, the relationship between the audiovisual community and public television, and, most of all, the fee paid to authors of audiovisual work.
The subject of dicussion was not the fee paid to authors after job completion, but the fee for additional uses and exploatation of their work – with which the author is acquainted with, as well as uses unknown to the author.
A common practice in Croatia, and other countries of the Balkans region, is unfortunately that the authors are not the owners of copyright for their own work. This happens mostly because they are coerced (for lack of a better term) to sign contracts renouncing their rights in further process. These type of contracts have become common in many fields, not just in the film industry. But, as they often point out, these copyright works have their owners, and would not exist without them. Unfortunately, most audio-visual works are formally devoid of ownership, and the money paid to exploit and use them are paid to those who have the rights “on paper”, not the real owners.
The problem in hand causes many authors to seek justice through personal lawsuits, and although the laws are regulated according to the high standards of the EU, in practice most government offices dedicated to solving the disputes fall short.
In conclusion, it was said that government bodies must determine the state of copyrights in audio-visual field in Croatia, but with the help from cinematic associations. The associations must start this long term process and determine the path to the wanted goal.