Author: Dr. Fodor Klaudia | 18th March 2020
In my earlier articles, I described the sense of copyright protection, the scope of the protection, how long the protection lasts, and in my last article I summarized, what rights are granted to the author through copyright in Hungary. After we have looked into the magical box of copyright, let’s get back to the user side and see how the user can lawfully use someone else’s copyright work.
Copyright license is needed every time you want to use someone else’s copyright work in a material or non-material way.
Here is a short test for you that helps to check whether or not you need a permission.
First check. Is it a copyright work what you want to use? YES/NO For the definition of copyright work, read my earlier article.
Second check. Is it still under copyright protection? YES/NO For further details, see my earlier article about the duration of copyright.
Third check. Is the act you want to carry out on the work a ‘use’ in the sense of the Hungarian Copyright Act? YES/NO For the definition of the ‘usage of the work’, read my summary here.
Fourth check. If to 1-3 the answer is YES, then check the Hungarian Copyright Code if there is a free use that exempts you from the obligation of asking for permission. (A later article will deal with these). I FOUND A FREE USE / NO FREE USE ON THIS
In any other cases, no permission is needed for your activity.
If you use a work in a chain of uses, then obtaining one license does not substitute the permission for the successive uses.
For example, if a TV channel produces a music video then it needs permission from the music publisher and the recording company for synchronizing the music. If the TV plays (broadcasts) this music video, then it must obtain license from the collective management organization (CMO) to use the music in it. If the TV makes an archive from its show online available, this requires another license. If the owner of a bar will play the TV channel in his bar, then a separate license must be obtained for this use from the respective CMO. (Obtaining permission from the respective CMO will be the subject of the next article.)
Sometimes you presume you don’t need a license – but this is false. Let’s kill a few copyright myths based on the Hungarian Copyright Code.
Using a work does not necessarily leave ‘traces’ behind. Eg. performing music in public occurs in a non-material way, it still requires permission.
A use does not necessarily mean many people will perceive it. Eg. If you play a gig in a club but no one comes along; or exhibit a painting for an exclusive audience – this still qualifies as a usage.
A use does not always harm the author’s interest significantly. “If I put a Queen’s song into my video as a background music, what harm would this cause to authors?” This is no excuse for the user.
For example, someone publishes a writer’s novel and distributes it for free. He does not want to make profit from it, just wants to spread it out, because it is such an important piece of the cultural heritage.
What is the result? The novelist cannot sell the book in the bookstores himself as it is already available for free.
The same happens, when someone uploads a copyright content (a book, a picture or a film) to the internet so that everyone has access to it.
What is the result? The right holder cannot sell that product online as it is available for free.
The kind of license you need will depend on the work you want to use, how you want to use it and how the copyright holder is ready to give you the permission.
The license can be obtained through a licensing contract. The user and the respective right holder will agree on the scope of the use, the royalty and other details they consider important in accordance with the general provisions on contracts of the Hungarian Civil Code and with the license-specific rules of the Copyright Code.
General rules on contracts are for example:
Getting the right copyright permissions is a complex matter.
If you run a business in Hungary and part of this you use copyright works of others, then this requires “thinking ahead” and understanding the local licensing system.
My intention here was to give you a rough overview of licensing.
Billboard picture with railways: Flickrs/Mike Steele (CC)