Belarus

Legal background

Scope and duration of copyright

Does copyright end immediately after the minimum period mandated by the Berne Convention? No
According to exclusive right works are protected throughout author's life and for 50 years after his death. Anonymous works are protected for 50 years after the first publication or creation even if it has never been published by author's consent. The same term is used to protect joint works after the death of the last surviving author.
CL, art.20
Has a court or tribunal ever limited the exercise of IP rights under competition law, for example by imposing compulsory licensing or regulating royalties charged by dominant rights holders? In part
The Republic of Belarus has no competition law. So such cases are considered in accordance with general provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus.
Has a court or tribunal ever limited the exercise of IP rights pursuant to a bill of rights or similar human rights instrument, for example by preventing copyright from being used to stifle protected speech? No
Can databases of non-original material be reproduced without infringing a copyright or sui generis database right? No
Databases are protected as joint works. So any reproduction is prohibited.
CL, art.6 §4, art.11 §1, art. 14 §1
Are rights holders prohibited from excluding user rights under copyright law? Yes
CL, art. 32-40
Is computer software excluded from the scope of patentable subject matter? No
Computer software is protected by copyright law as a literary work.
CL, art.13 §1,2

Freedoms to access and use

By Home UsersIs there any general user right that is based on a set of balancing criteria, such as a "fair use" right? Yes
CL, art.32
Is time, space and format shifting allowed (such as ripping music from CD to an MP3 player)? No
Only the author or right holder can do it or allow other people to do it.
CL, art.16
Can consumers reproduce copyright material for their own use in the original format, for example for backup purposes? Yes
It is unnecessary to obtain permission of the author or other copyright holder and payment of remuneration for reproduction when such reproduction is temporary and it is an essential part in the process of transferring data, which has the only purpose to fair use of works, and make them available to the public.
CL,art.40
Can works be communicated to a limited public (for example, family and friends) without infringing copyright? Yes
Public demonstration of copyrighted works can be in family or among friends without the consent of the author.
CL,art.35
For EducationMay students copy works for private research or study? Yes
It is permitted to make copy of works for private research or study without the consent of the author or right holder and without payment of remuneration.
CL, art.32(2)
Does any such research and study provision cover distance and online education? Yes
It can be used without the consent of the author or right holder and without payment of remuneration. It is permitted to use digital material from computers in institutions, libraries and archives or in Internet at home, but this information must be protected by technological protection measures.
CL, art.37
May translations of works be made for educational purposes? No
Translation can be done only with the consent of the author.
CL, art.16
May educators copy works for use in the classroom? Yes
Articles, short-run editions, newspapers, magazines and other mass media editions can be reproduced for educational purposes without the consent of the author or right holder and without payment of remuneration.
CL, art.35
OnlineAre temporary or transient copies, incidental to a lawful use, excepted from copyright? Yes
It is unnecessary to obtain the permission of the author or other copyright holder and to pay any remuneration for reproduction when it is temporary.
CL, art.40
Does the law exclude or limit the liability of intermediaries such as ISPs for copyright infringements carried out on their network? No
The legislation of the Republic of Belarus has no provisions that make providers responsible for anything.
Is Internet access free of ISP filtering or monitoring for potential copyright-infringements? Yes
Users are solely responsible for all the information that they pass through the channels of communication.
By content creatorsIs there any protection for consumers who non-commercially remix or mash up copyright works? No
The author or other right holder have exclusive right to make and authorize derivative works.
CL, art.13
May computer software be reproduced or transformed for the purpose of reverse-engineering interoperable software? No
Only the author or other right holder can reproduce or transform computer software.
CL, art.13
Is the incidental inclusion of a work in other material permitted? In part
There is no such provision or law in the legislation of the Republic of Belarus.
Is there are copyright exception for parody or satire? Yes
Parody and satire can be made without the consent of the author or right holder and without payment of remuneration.
By the pressIs there a copyright exception for the news of the day? Yes
Articles published in newspapers or magazines on current economic, political, social and religious issues, as well as the same character material, which was broadcasted or from Internet, can be reproduced if such actions haven’t been specifically prohibited by the author or other holder of this work.
CL. art. 33
May copyright material be reproduced for the purposes of review and criticism? In part
Political speeches, addresses, reports and other similar works spoken in public may be reproduced in print media, broadcast or cable by electronic media and any way that is justified by the information purpose. As a part of current affairs to the extent justified by informational purposes, works, fragments of musical works that are seen or heard during such events, can be reproduced in printed media, referred to the broadcast or cable by electronic media and another way.
CL, art 35
May quotations be used for any purpose? No
Works can be used with the obligatory indication of the author's works and the source of the borrowing as illustrations in publications, radio and television broadcasts, audio and video recordings of educational nature to the extent justified by educational purposes.
By LibrariesMay libraries copy works if they cannot reasonably be obtained commercially? Yes
Articles and other collective works, newspapers, magazines and other printed works of media, fragments from literary and other works can be reproduced by libraries and archives at the request of individuals and juridical persons in academic, research and educational purposes but without the aim to obtain directly or indirectly any commercial benefit.
CL, art.37 §3
May librarians copy works for users for the purpose of research or study? Yes
Articles and other collective works, newspapers, magazines and other printed works of media, fragments from literary and other works can be reproduced by libraries and archives at the request of individuals and juridical persons in academic, research and educational purposes but without the aim to obtain directly or indirectly any commercial benefit.
CL, art.37 §3
Are libraries allowed to make preservation or archive copies of materials in their collections? Yes
Libraries and archives can reproduce and preserve copies of materials if they don’t seek to obtain commercial benefit. It is permitted without the consent of the author or right holder and payment of remuneration, but it is necessary to specify the name of the author and the source.
CL, art.37 §2
Can lending libraries operate without incurring public lending rights fees to copyright owners? Yes
A copyright contract between a copyright owner and a library can have such provisions.
CL, art.45 §2
By disabled usersIs it permissible to copy or adapt work for the use of those with disabilities? Yes
Works can be reproduced in Braille or other special means, which provide access for the visually impaired persons to works. In this case every copy must have a link stating that this edition is for the visually impaired persons.
CL, art. 34 §1
In public affairsAre laws excluded from copyright? Yes
Laws and judicial rulings are in the public domain.
CL, art.7
Are other governmental works either excluded from copyright, or routinely shared under permissive licences? Yes
Copyright protection is not applied to official documents (government regulations, decrees, and other administrative and judicial document, constituent instruments) and their translations.
CL, art.7
Are the results of publicly funded research required to be published under an open access licence? No

Freedoms to share and transfer

Do copyright owners have the right to release their works to the public domain, without any limitation on how those works may be used? No
CL, art. 25
Can public domain works be used without the need for any payment or registration of the use? Yes
Does the law make special provision for the legal use of orphaned works? No
Is parallel importation of copyright works permitted? No
The right to import a work is one of the exclusive rights of a copyright holder.
CL, art.16
Are there national programmes or policies to promote the use, production or dissemination of openly-licensed material such as free and open source software or open educational resources? No
Are there national programmes or policies that specify or promote the use of open document formats? No

Administration and enforcement

What is the maximum penalty for copyright infringement for an individual? 40–200$ CL, art.56
What is the maximum penalty for copyright infringement for a corporation? 40–200$ The copyright law imposes the same fines on both individuals and corporations. CL, art.56
Is innocent infringement of IP treated differently by the law? No
Is the creation or distribution of devices that can circumvent technological protection measures (TPM) permitted, where such devices can be used for legal purposes? No
Is the use of such devices by consumers or intermediaries permitted in the legal exercise of user rights? No
Does national copyright or consumer protection law require that the effect of TPMs distributed with copyright works be disclosed to consumers? No
Are there cases in which the availability of injunctive relief for IP infringement is limited by the law on public policy grounds? No
Does the law protect a user's Internet access from being suspended for alleged copyright infringement, except after a hearing in court? No
Are criminal sanctions limited to cases of large-scale commercial counterfeiting? Yes
Are damages for copyright infringement limited to the loss sustained, rather than a pre-established or statutory damages award? In part
Two ways of action exist in civil proceedings. They are based on actual loss sustained by the copyright holder and on the compensation, which is statutory damages award. Because in many cases it is impossible to prove loss sustained, and therefore compensation is much more popular course of action against copyright infringers.
Is there provision to penalise the wrongful allegation of copyright infringement? No
Is there provision to penalise the obstruction of consumers' exercise of user rights? No
Does the patent system allow for pre-grant opposition? No
CL, art. obsolete 45

Recent or upcoming changes

Summary of position

 

New edition of the Law of the Republic of Belarus "On Copyright and Related Rights" was approved in 2011. It contains new legal regulations, which promote free access to information. The legislation of the Republic of Belarus on copyright and related laws consists of provisions from the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus, Civil Code, decrees and provisions of the President, and other legislative acts.

In 1911 the Law of the Russian Empire on copyright came into force. In that time Belarus was a part of this country and obeyed its rules. Related rights were not protected in the Russian Empire, the USSR and in the Republic of Belarus until 1996. A new period in the development of intellectual property law became the Law of the Republic of Belarus "On Copyright and Related rights" approved on 16 May, 1996. It allowed joining the Berne Convention for the protection of Literary and Artistic Works, a fundamental international agreement governing copyright. In 1996 WIPO accepted two international agreements – WIPO Copyright Treaty and WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. They were mostly aimed to protect objects of copyright and related law which were in digital format and digital environment, and in Internet. The Law of the Republic of Belarus had obsolete laws, and it was decided to draft a new law. It was approved in 1998. This law contained provisions which corresponded to international ones. The draft law was prepared in cooperation with the World Intellectual Property Organization. 

The current Law on Copyright and Related rights for 2011 includes some new provisions to libraries. It allows making electronic copies and providing them in the remote access (Internet) to users. The list of documents which can be reproduced is expanded. There has appeared a possibility to conclude a treaty with an author on a grand basis. The term of the copyright protection has become 50 years.

 

 

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