[Hit without a miss]

There comes a day when your marketing department, and/or – as the case may be – more inventive members of the administration team, feel like they need to cover their freshly baked promotional material with some spicy ringing sauce. Obviously the more spice, the better; and what better a tone than a hit single that rings just about everywhere – the recipe for an instant success.

Often times, however, success takes a modicum, or even a whole lot, of effort – and as regards adding a soundtrack to a corporate video, the effort is where the case of license grant pops up. I sure hope that the following short guide to copyright may save all of you, self-proclaimed film producers, some effort and expense along the way.

[Work of authorship]

According to the Polish Copyright Act (PCA; verbatim translation of the applicable piece of legislation is as follows: “the act on copyright and related rights”), each and every manifestation of creative and original activity, referred to as “work of authorship”, shall be protected by law. Such protection as provided for by the PCA also extends to music and songs. As as rule, use of anyone else’s work of authorship is predicated upon a proper consent given by, and remuneration paid to, its author (or composer; for simplicity, both types of right holders will be here referred to as “author”).


Permission to use works of authorship takes the form of a license agreement. The license is a permission to use a given work of authorship on such terms and conditions as defined in a pertaining agreement. The license agreement is, in turn, an arrangement according to which a copyright (or related rights) holder (licensor) grants another (licensee) the right to use the work of authorship within the scope and in such manner as specified in the very agreement (within the, so-called, “fields of exploitation”).


An unauthorized use of works of authorship results in damages and criminal prosecution. Any such violation may specifically lead to an obligation (i) to pay their proper holders monetary compensation amounting to double the license fees otherwise charged for the use of the works infringed, and/or (ii) to pay the national special purpose fund (Fund for the Promotion of Creative Activity) twice the potential profits made from the illegal exploitation. The infringer may face criminal charges under Articles 115 through 118 of the PCA, since the unlawful use of works of authorship constitutes a crime and, as such, is punishable by a fine, restriction of liberty, or imprisonment of up to 5 years; courts may, in certain cases, find the violator liable to forfeiture of any property engaged in committing the crime, including without limitation, audiovisual equipment or turntables.

[Association of Authors and Composers]

At times it is difficult, if possible at all, to establish identity and whereabouts of, and to reach out to, a principal licensor. In such instances collective management organizations will come to your rescue. The collective management of copyright and related rights is undertaken on behalf of principal licensors, themselves being members of such organizations, and may take the form of issuing copyright licenses to users (licensees), such as yourself.

Each and every organization of this type operating in the territory of Poland, including without limitation the Association of Authors and Composers (Polish abbreviation: ZAiKS; see: http://www.zaiks.org.pl/– this site and other contents hyperlinked herein are available in Polish only), may provide collective management services subject to a state permit granted by the Minister of Culture that decides their respective scope of authority. As regards the literary, musical, choreographic, and the like works of authorship, ZAiKS is exclusively authorized to issue licenses and manage rights in the works, by legal presumption.


According to the official website of the Association of Polish Authors and Composers (see, for example: http://bit.ly/1KhV2YI ), ZAiKS repertoire comprises works by Polish and foreign authors who personally, or by their successors, or on the basis of reciprocal representation contracts with its foreign counterparts, have granted ZAiKS a proper power of authority to represent them in the Republic of Poland. At present ZAiKS, thanks to agreements with major international copyright management organizations (German GEMA, British PRS, French SACEM, Dutch BUMA, American ASCAP, Italian SIAE, Swiss SUISA), represents – as relates to musical, verbal-musical and verbal works of authorship – 96- 98% of the world repertoire.

[License agreement]

ZAiKS grants non-exclusive licenses for the use of works that make up the so-called ZAiKS repertoire, specifying the manner and scope of copyright use and remuneration for such use (see: http://bit.ly/1RMvsPI). To obtain a license to use the works of authorship, you must submit a request indicating the field of exploitation as sought by you (proper forms can be found here: http://bit.ly/1Oug312). In order to effectively obtain a license, prior payment as calculated on the basis of the data contained in the application for a license agreement, must be made in full.

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