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Kochański & Partners’ Litigation Success Before the Supreme Court – Royalties

Co-authors of films accompanying newspapers are entitled to additional royalties,  however only on copies actually sold, and not on the entire published run. Moreover, the amount of royalties may not be arbitrarily imposed by copyright collecting societies. This is the conclusion stemming from a judgment of the Supreme Court, which endorsed the arguments of Kochański & Partners lawyers representing our Client – Ringier Axel Springer Polska.  

The cassation appeal was filed by the Polish Filmmakers Association (Stowarzyszenie Filmowców Polskich), claiming additional royalties for films accompanying newspapers published by Ringier Axel Springer.

In its judgment, the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal and upheld the position presented in previous judgments, namely that royalties should be calculated based on the actual income generated by the use of the work. The court shared the arguments of our lawyers and emphasized that royalties must reflect actual number of copies sold and not, as the appellant claimed, all copies produced.

The Supreme Court also did not share the appellant’s arguments that fixed rates applied by the Polish Filmmakers Association were market-based. These rates are actually imposed (i.a. on publishers) by collecting societies as monopolists. The mere fact that the users of copyrighted works have to, like it or not, accept such rates does not mean that these rates are market-based.

The judgment provides important guidance on the nature of royalty payments, the meaning of the “adequacy” of royalties and the manner of calculation.

The authors of the success are Kochański & Partners lawyers from the Intellectual and Industrial Property Practice: advocates Piotr Kochański (lead attorney for the Client), Agnieszka Choromańska – Malicka and Tomasz Szambelan, supported by Litigation Practice lawyers: advocates Mateusz Ostrowski, Agnieszka Chajewska and Mateusz Sadłyk.

Case number: I CSK 631/18, judgment of 24 July 2020 


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