Creators' Rights Alliance - Between a rock and a hard place - Appendix 2: Select European Laws
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The Law No 2121/1993 of 3 March 1993, confers both moral and economic rights. The economic rights alone are transferable, and Greek law regulates contracts in considerable detail.[1] In addition, the contracts are covered by the Greek Civil Code, Article 288 of which imposes a duty to carry out one’s obligations in accordance with good faith and business practice. Contracts of transfer or exploitation must be in writing and in the absence of such formality are treated as null and void.[2] The statute sets up a series of presumptions: if not expressed to be exclusive, licences are assumed to be non-exclusive;[3] in the event of doubt, only those rights necessary to fulfil the purpose of the contract or licence are deemed to be covered;[4] if the contract does not fix the duration of rights it transfers, this duration is limited to five years; and if the contract does not fix the geographical scope of the rights transferred, the scope is limited to the country where the contract was concluded.

Over and above these presumptions, Greek law imposes some mandatory rules. Firstly, transfers, contracts and licences cannot cover all an author’s future works nor forms of exploitation which are unknown.[5] Secondly, the contracting party has a duty to publish the work within a reasonable period of time.[6] Thirdly, the remuneration payable for the transfer of economic rights and for contracts and licences relating to it must always be proportional.[7][8] Greek copyright specialist, Professor Georges Koumantos says that the rule on proportionate remuneration “is accompanied by such a long list of exceptions and by such an obscure formula for calculating the proportional remuneration that its application is doubtful.” Finally, the benefit of a contract may not be assigned without the consent of the author.[9]

In addition, special rules exist for certain specific types of contracts: as regards publishing, audiovisual production contracts, radio and television broadcasts, theatrical performance, the performance of music in cinemas and photographs.[10] All these rules set minimum mandatory standards: contractual deviations which are not improvements are null and void.[11] As regards publishing contracts, a mandatory royalty provision applies to agreements under which more than 1,000 copies are sold: in all such cases the author is entitled to a royalty of 10% on the sale price. Other rules exist in relation to audiovisual production contracts. As is common, the author/director is assumed to transfer to the producer economic rights relating to the exploitation of the film, and in return is to be guaranteed a right to receive proportional remuneration for each mode of exploitation.[12] The author is given the right to approve the final version of the audiovisual work. As regards broadcasts, Article 35 establishes presumptive rates of remuneration for repeat broadcasts (50% of the fee agreed for the first re-broadcast, thereafter 20%).

[1] G. Koumantos, (1994) 159 Revue Internationale de Droit D’auteur 204, 244 ‘the current trend is towards increased interest in contractual law as it relates to authors’ rights. This trend seems justified to the extent that, even if properly protected in terms of its existence, a right can be sacrificed as regards its exercise through the operation of contractual freedom because of the economic disparity between the parties. This justifies the legislator’s intervention’

[2] Greece, Art. 14 of the 1993 law.

[3]  Greece, Art. 13(1-4).

[4]  Greece, Art. 15(1-4).

[5]  Greece, Art. 13(5).

[6]  Greece, Art. 15(5).

[7]  Greece, Art. 32.

[8] G. Koumantos, Greece, in in M. Nimmer & P. Geller (eds.), International Copyright Law and Practice (New York: Matthew Bender 2000, annually updated), para 4[3][a][I], GRE-21.

[9] Greece, Art. 13 (6).

[10] Greece, Arts. 33-38.

[11] Art. 39.

[12] Greece, Art. 32.

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