Which works are protected by copyright?
In general, copyright protects any literary, artistic and scientific work. Works must be original, expressed in an objective form and can be perceived and reproduced in this form either directly or by means of technical devices.
Copyright does not apply to
- works of folklore
- legal acts and administrative documents and their official translations (laws,regulations, guidelines, directives)
- court decisions and their official translations
- official state symbols and insignia of organisations (excl. banknotes)
- news of the day
- facts and data
- ideas, notions, images, theories, processes, systems, methods, concepts, principles, discoveries, inventions, and other results of intellectual activities which are described, explained or expressed in any other manner in a work;
- ideas and principles which underlie any element of a computer programme, including ideas and principles which underlie its user interfaces.
Thus, everyone may freely use works of folklore, legal acts and administrative documents, court decisions and their official translations. Attention should be given to the fact that unofficial translations and drafts of legal acts are under copyright protection.
How long is the term of protection of copyright?
The general copyright term is the life of the author plus 70 years after the author’s death. When more than 70 years have passed since the author’s death, works may be freely used by all. The 70-year-long term of copyright begins on 1 January the year following the author’s death. Exceptions to the general term of copyright protection are provided in the case of joint authorship and for audio-visuals (copyright is valid 70 years after the last surviving author’s death), anonymous or pseudonymous works, collective works, works produced as part of employment duties, and serials (copyright is valid 70 years after a lawful publication of a work). Copyright-related rights (the rights of producers of phonograms, radio and TV organisations, producers of first fixations of films, and performers of works) are applied on the conditions prescribed in § 74 of the Copyright Act for a period of 50 years from the term of protection. Exceptions are provided for the rights of previously unpublished works and critical or scientific publications (CA § 74¹).
In which cases may users reproduce works protected by copyright without the author’s consent?
Users may reproduce a work protected by copyright for private use and for educational and scientific purposes. This reproduction may not pursue any commercial purposes.
To what extent may works protected by copyright be reproduced?
Reproduction is permitted in a justified and reasonable amount; for example, you may copy few articles from a journal, a table of contents and few chapters from a book. Copying an entire book is not considered a fair use.
What works may not be reproduced?
The reprographic reproduction of printed music, works of visual art of limited edition, electronic databases, and computer programmes may not be reproduced without the consent of the author. Also, the reproduction of audio-visuals and sound recordings is not permitted in the National Library.
What has to be done if you wish to publish a copyrighted work?
In this case you must have the authorisation of the author, the organisation representing the author or the rights holder. The permission must be requested and submitted to the Library by the person who wishes to publish a work or part of a work.
Where can authorisation be applied for?
You may contact the author or the organisation representing the author. In certain cases you may also need to request permission from the publisher. In Estonia, musicians, artists and photographers are represented by the Estonian Authors’ Society; writers do not have their representative organisation.
Performers (actors, singers, musicians, dancers) are represented by the Estonian Performers’ Association and producers of phonograms (persons who take the initiative and have responsibility for the fixation of the sounds) are represented by the Estonian Association of Phonogram Producers.
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