Czech Republic: Digital Revolution & Legal Evolution in the Czech Republic

Status quo of the implementation of Directive (EU) 2019/790

The amendment of the Copyright Act implementing the EU Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market has reached the Chamber of Representatives of the Czech Parliament. This is currently being discussed in the responsible committees and the plenary of the Chamber of Representatives. After it is passed, the law will continue to go through the legislative process. The President’s final signature is expected for Autumn 2022. The proposal discussed by legislators still does not fully consider the European Commission’s recommendations or the recent decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) in relation to Poland’s action against the European Commission on this Directive. It remains to be seen now whether the parliamentary debate will bring changes to the legal text and what these will be.

National legal framework against computer piracy

The basic protection of copyright (and thus the protection of authors of works against computer piracy) in criminal law is guaranteed by Act No. 40/2009 Coll., the Criminal Code. Specifically, this is included in § 270 of the Act, under the offence of infringement of copyright, related rights, and database rights. The perpetrator can be punished with a prison sentence of up to 8 years if the benefit gained or the damage caused is of great magnitude. It should be noted that there have already been several unconditional convictions without parole on the basis of this paragraph in the past, mainly for the illegal distribution of films and computer games via online platforms.

Copyright & NFT (non-fungible tokens)

Since this is a new technology, there is no general legislation in the NFT sector to date. Most legal professionals agree that NFTs are not securities. Their trading is not regulated in any way, and there is no legislation specifically governing how NFTs should be dealt with. On the other hand, NFTs may be subject to a number of regulations. It will primarily depend on what rights are actually transferred with NFT. These may be copyright licenses, but also various rights arising from contracts between the transferors. NFTs can also encroach on personal rights if they are associated with portrait photos, for example.

Autor: Monika Wetzlerová-Deisler