Amendments to the Law “On copyright and related rights”


On May 27, 2020, amendments to the Law of the Republic of Belarus dd. от 17.05.2011 № 262-Z “On copyright and related rights” came into effect, introduced by the Law of the Republic of Belarus dd. 15.07.2019 № 216-Z. A brief overview of the main changes is presented below.

Audiovisual works

  • The composition of legally protected objects related to audiovisual works has been clarified. Audiovisual works are cinema films, telefilms, video films, and other cinema- and teleworks, regardless of the method of their original or subsequent recording.

Broadcasting and closed-circuit organization

  • The term “broadcasting and closed-circuit organization” has been defined. A “broadcasting and closed-circuit organization” is a legal person independently defining show content of the broadcasting and closed-circuit organization and carrying out its broadcast on air or via cable independently or with third parties.

Open license

  • The term “open license” was introduced and terms of such agreements were defined. Open license is a simplified mechanism for concluding a license agreement for the right to use objects of copyright and related rights. An open license is an adhesion agreement.

License agreement

  • The concept and content of the agreement were specified. The agreement must provide for specific ways to use the object of copyright or related rights. The term of the agreement is 3 years, unless the agreement contains a different term clause. The authors of the work have the right to conclude an agreement on the use of the work in print media.
  • If the agreement for the reproduction of a work provides for the payment of royalties in a fixed amount, the agreement must specify the maximum number of reproducible copies of the work.
  • If the agreement does not contain a condition on the territory where the use of the work is allowed, the validity of this agreement is limited to the territory of the Republic of Belarus.
  • The agreement providing for the right of the licensee to enter into a sublicense agreement to the licensee must contain a condition on the amount of the share of remuneration received by the licensee from the sublicensee, which the licensee must pay to the author. The remuneration paid by the sublicensee to the author may not be less than the remuneration that the licensee must pay for the appropriate method of using the work, unless otherwise expressly provided in the license agreement.

Agreement of assignment of the exclusive rights

  • Changes were made to the definition and content of the agreement of assignment of exclusive rights.
  • Under this agreement, the author or other rightholder alienates the exclusive rights to the object of copyright or related rights in full to the acquirer for the entire duration of the copyright (related rights). Unless the agreement provides otherwise, the exclusive right passes from the author or other rightholder to the acquirer from the moment of conclusion of the agreement.

Agreement on creating a copyright object

  • Under the agreement on the creation and use of an object of copyright or related rights, the author (performer) undertakes to create a work (performance) that meets the requirements of the customer within the period stipulated in the agreement, and to transfer to the customer the exclusive right to this work (performance).
  • Acceptance of a work (performance) created by the author (performer) in order prescribed by the agreement by the customer, entails the transfer to the customer of the exclusive right to a work (execution) or the provision of the right to the customer to its use on terms established by the agreement.
  • An agreement on the creation and use of an object of copyright or related rights is concluded in writing. An agreement that does not meet this requirement is

Property rights management agreement

  • A property rights management agreement for the work and (or) object of related rights is concluded between authors (or other rightholders) and organizations for collective management of property rights (hereinafter referred to as the OCM), which currently includes the State Institution “National Center of Intellectual Property”, the Public Association “Belarusian society of authors, performers and other rightholders”, for an indefinite period.
  • Herewith the author (or another rightholder) has the right to refuse to perform the agreement by notifying the OCM in writing 6 months before the termination (modification) of the agreement.
  • A mandatory condition of the agreement is to withhold 25% of the remuneration collected by the OCM for each reporting year and transfer it by OCM to the Fund of the President of the Republic of Belarus for the support of culture and art.

Other amendments

  • Article 34 “Free use of works for the blind, visually impaired and other persons with visual disabilities ” is brought into line with the Marrakesh agreement on facilitating access to published works for the blind, visually impaired, or other persons with visual disabilities (dated 27.06.2013).
  • OCM are obliged not later than April 1, 2020 following the reporting period to transfer 25% of the remuneration collected during the reporting year to the Fund of the President of the Republic of Belarus for the support of culture and art. OCM is obliged each year to conduct a mandatory audit of the annual accounting (financial) statements prepared in accordance with the legislation of the Republic of Belarus.
  • For the OCMs liability is imposed in the form of preterm termination of state accreditation for exceeding the size limit of deductions from amounts collected by the OCM remuneration in accordance with the Agreement on the management of copyright and related rights on a collective basis, signed in Moscow on December 11, 2017 (hereinafter referred to as the Agreement).
  • The list of cases of free use of legally published works for educational and research purposes has been extended. It is allowed to reproduce and distribute as part of educational publications intended for use in the educational process, small-volume works, as well as parts of legally published works in the volume justified by the educational purpose, with mandatory indication of their authors and sources of borrowing.
  • Subjects of related rights shall exercise their rights subject to their compliance with the copyright to works of science, literature and art, as well as the related rights of other persons to performances, phonograms, broadcasts of broadcasting or closed-circuit organizations used in the creation of the corresponding object of related rights.
  • The Council of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus is authorized to set the minimum amount of remuneration for the use of phonograms published for commercial purposes, the procedure for its collection, distribution and payment.
  • Works that have passed into the public domain can be freely used by any individual or legal entity without paying remuneration to the authors. At the same time, the right of authorship, the right to a name and the right to inviolability of the work must be respected.
  • The name of the author of the work can be specified when the work is used in the radio program, or in any other way, information about which should be contained in this radio program.
  • The period after which the remuneration paid to the author (other rightholder) is transferred to the Republican budget is reduced from 5 to 3 years.
  • The collected remuneration for the use of works (other objects of related rights) at least once a year to foreign authors (other foreign rightholders).