Collective management organization’s right to information in copyright disputes – judgement issued by the Polish Supreme Court

Under Polish law, collecting societies are afforded numerous legal instruments in order to realise their statutory duties. The increasing number of court disputes concerning how they are used in practice makes it easier to understand the provisions regulating this issue in the Polish Copyright Act of 4 February 1994 (text: ISAP).

In its most recent judgement (case no. IV CSK 653/15), the Supreme Court addressed the question of a tool which is exceptionally important in practice, which the legislature afforded collecting societies, being a right to demand information under Article 105 (2) of that Act. This Article states that “with regard to its activities, [a collecting society] may demand disclosure of information and documents necessary to determine the amounts of the remuneration and fees it is seeking”.

The described Supreme Court ruling was issued in cassation appeal proceedings in a dispute between a collecting society and one of the largest Polish rebroadcasting firms. It related to claims raised by the collecting society under Article 105(2) of the Copyright Act and to demands for information on the subject of radio and television programmes that the defendant rebroadcast in its cable networks, as well as data concerning the subscribers watching those programmes.

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