Copyright Law in the Czech Republic

The Copyright Act constitutes the main national source of copyright law. In 2014, a new Civil Code, which regulates a number of named contracts used in civil law, including the license agreement, came into effect, and thus the regulation of the license agreement in the Copyright Act was repealed.

The Copyright Act is based and affected, to a considerable extent, by supranational legislation such as international treaties and conventions and EU directives and regulations. The Act defines the relations between the users and the performers/authors of copyrighted works. The authors/performers include writers, artists, musicians, filmmakers, architects, town planners, programmers etc.. The copyright law makes it possible for the state to provide the authors with certain exclusive rights to their works for a limited period of time. Copyright law forms part of a broader area of law called intellectual property law.

The © symbol followed by the name of the author (or the name of the licensee or producer, publisher etc.) and a year is often used to mark that the work is protected by copyright. The fact is, however, that in the Czech Republic (as well as in a number of other countries) the symbol is used for information only and the work is protected even without the explicit use of symbol.

It is unfortunate when copyright is reserved by two rightholders (e.g. the author and the publisher) and it is not clear who the actual rightholder or licensee is. If copyright reservation is to serve the informative purpose and constitute the presumption of authorship under Section 6 of the Copyright Act, it is recommendable that the copyright be reserved for one rightholder only.

In addition to the copyright sensu stricto, other rights related to copyright are also protected, including the rights of performers to their performance, rights of the producers of audio or audiovisual recordings, rights of TV and radio broadcasters, rights of publishers, and recently the rights of a person making a work public for the first time. Databases enjoy similar protection.