Article 22 of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market provides for a right of revocation (Directive (EU) 2019/ 790, adopted in April 2019). This gives effect to a ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ principle. EU Member States must provide authors and performers who licensed or transferred their rights on an exclusive basis with a right to revoke this transfer or license in case their works are not exploited. It is a general provision applying to all types of copyright works.

The final shape of the revocation right in EU Member States’ laws will depend on the transposition process. Member States are left with considerable freedom in implementing art. 22. They can decide whether to adopt special provisions for different sectors, different types of works, including collective works, as well as whether to introduce time limitations. The transposition process is ongoing, with implementation deadline set for 7 June 2021.

Mapping national provisions

Reversion rights are not a novelty to a number of the EU countries. National laws already provide for the return of rights to the authors and performers in certain situations. Considering that the inclusion of the right of revocation in the Copyright Directive was not accompanied by a focused discussion on its form or merit, a question arises: are there any lessons to be learnt from current national solutions to aid the art. 22 implementation process?

To find those valuable lessons, we mapped provisions which are already a part of national laws across the EU, exploring how they work and how they affect creator contracts. The map and the table below present the results of our mapping. The mapping took a note of provisions which are currently in force (marked green) and those which are no longer binding (marked yellow).

To explore the map feature, select a type of provision from a drop-down list below the map. After clicking on a selected provision, the map will be coloured accordingly, to show which Member States offer relevant provisions. When you hover your cursor over a particular country, a comment indicating a relevant article or section appears, summarising its content.

The table feature presents all mapped provisions simultaneously. Each coloured cell is accompanied by a comment indicating the relevant article or section of the national law, summarising its content. Hover over a cell to view the comment.

Currently binding provision
Currently binding provision, concerns only certain types of agreements
Historical provision
Historical provision, concerns only certain types of agreements
Austria Belgium Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czechia Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Greece Hungary Ireland Italy Latvia Lithuania Luxembourg Malta Netherlands Poland Portugal Romania Slovakia Slovenia Spain Sweden
general: non-use or insufficient use

Austria

§ 29

Concerns agreements on right of use.

Lack of use or insufficient use of work, which impairs interests of the author, in case reasons for insufficient use do not lie with the author.

Croatia

Art. 45

Concerns contracts providing an exclusive right of exploitation.

Lack of use or insufficient use, which prejudices legitimate interests of the author.

Czechia

§ 2378-2381

Concerns exclusive licenses.

Lack of use or insufficient use which significantly adversely affects legitimate interests of the author.

Germany

Sec. 41

Lack of use or insufficient use which significantly impairs author’s legitimate interests.

Does not apply to the right to make a film of one’s work, after the shooting of a film has begun (sec. 88 & 90), and the right to use a cinematographic work (sec. 89 & 90).

Netherlands

Art. 25e

Lack of exploitation of work in a sufficient extent within a reasonable time following the conclusion of an agreement.

Romania

Art. 48

Lack of use or insufficient use of work, which considerably affects justified interests of the author.

Slovakia

Sec. 73

Concerns exclusive licenses, when the licensee is obliged to use the license (which is a default).

Licensee does not use the license in an agreed manner or to an agreed extent.

[change from exclusive to non-exclusive license possible]

Slovenia

Art. 83

Concerns exclusive assignments.

Lack of use or insufficient use joint with considerable adverse effect on author’s legitimate interests.

general: time-based termination

Austria

Sec. 34

Concerns agreements for reproduction and distribution of music and literary works.

Concerns exclusive agreements.

Trigger: lapse of 20 years following end of the year when work was first distributed.

After 20-year period lapses author can reproduce and distribute the work in a complete edition of author’s work.

[exclusive to non-exclusive]

Cyprus

Imperial Copyright Act 1911

sec. 5(2)

Termination of agreements 25 years after the death of the author, with rights reverting back to legal successors.

Germany

Sec. 40a

Concerns exclusive agreements with a flat-rate remuneration.

Lapse of 10-year period following the conclusion of an agreement, or the delivery of work, whichever happened later.

[exclusive to non-exclusive, contract continues as a simple right of use]

Does not apply to the right to make a film of one’s work, after the shooting of a film has begun (sec. 88 & 90), and the righ to use a cinematographic work (sec. 89 & 90).

Ireland

Imperial Copyright Act 1911

sec. 5(2)

Termination of agreements 25 years after the death of the author, with rights reverting back to legal successors.

Malta

Imperial Copyright Act 1911

sec. 5(2)

Termination of agreements 25 years after the death of the author, with rights reverting back to legal successors.

Spain

Act 1879

Art. 6

Rights assigned by the author revert back to her heirs after 25 years following author’s death.

general: lack of initial exploitation

Bulgaria

Art. 39

Concerns agreements on transfer of rights, which do not specify when the exploitation of work needs to begin.

2 years from conclusion of contract or delivery of work, whichever happened later.

Exception: architectural works.

Czechia

Sec. 23

Concerns agreements on the distribution of works.

Agreed time (no default).

Denmark

§ 54

Concerns assignment of rights.

Lack of exploitation of work within 3 years following the fulfilment of the agreement by the author.

Estonia

Current Copyright Act 1992, provision repealed in 2002

sec. 59

Lack of initial use of work within the agreed time.

Hungary

Sec. 51

Use of work not started within the agreed time, and if time not agreed, reasonable time after conclusion of the contract.

Concerns exclusive licenses and transfers.

Netherlands

Art. 25e

Lack of exploitation of work following its initial performance.

Poland

Art. 57

Lack of distribution of work (which was intended for distribution) within the agreed time, and if no time was agreed within 2 years after the work was received.

Portugal

Art. 43

Concerns exclusive licenses.

Non-use of work for period of 7 years.

general: inappropriate exploitation

Hungary

Sec. 51

Use of work in a manner obviously [manifestly] inappropriate or inconsistent with the purpose of the contract.

Concerns exclusive licenses and transfers.

Poland

Art. 58

Publication of work in an inappropriate form or with changes the author could legitimately oppose.

Slovakia

Sec. 73

Concerns exclusive licenses, when the licensee is obliged to use the license (which is a default).

Licensee does not use the license in an agreed manner or to an agreed extent.

[change from exclusive to non-exclusive license possible]

general: transfer of business to a third party

Germany

Sec. 34

Concerns situations where right of use is transferred to a third party during the sale of the whole of part of enterprise.

Trigger: exercise of the right cannot be reasonably demanded from the new owner.

general: bankruptcy, liquidation, death etc

Austria

Sec. 32

Concerns agreements on reproduction and distribution.

Insolvency of a party to the agreement, and lack of reproduction of work on the date of opening of the insolvency proceedings.

Czechia

Act 1965

Sec. 21

Concerns transfer agreements.

Trigger: death or dissolution of the transferee absent legal successor.

Slovakia

Sec. 71

Lack of legal successors to a terminated entity or deceased licensee.

general: max term of agreement

Bulgaria

Art. 37

Contracts for the use of works.

10 years; contracts for a longer period last 10 years [termination].

Exception: architectural works.

general: default term of agreement

Bulgaria

Art. 36

Contracts for use of works

3 years, or 5 years in case of architectural works

Czechia

§ 2376

Licensing agreements

Period usual for a given type of work, but no longer than 1 year from conclusion of the agreement or the delivery of work, whichever happened later.

Greece

Art. 15

5 years, if not specified (transfers and licenses)

Hungary

Sec. 30

Term customary for agreements on use of works similar to the subject matter of the contract.

Poland

Art. 66

Concerns licenses

5 years

Portugal

Art. 43

Concerns all transitory agreements (both transfer and license).

25 years, or 10 years in case of photographs and works of applied art.

Slovakia

Sec. 68

Time necessary to achieve the purpose of the agreement, or if no purpose was determined, usual time for the type and use of work, but no more than 1 year.

Slovenia

Art. 75

Term customary for category of works subject to the agreement.

Spain

Art. 43

5 years

[assignment of the right of exploitation]

general: future works

Austria

§ 31

Concerns contracts for future works 1) all works created during author’s lifetime, or 2) works created during a period exceeding 5 years.

Lapse of 5 years following conclusion of the contract.

Applies also to performances (§ 68, 1 year in place of 5).

France

Art. L-132-4

Concerns publishing agreements for future works.

Trigger: refusal of two successive works in the same genre presented by the author; contract is terminated with the respect of remaining future works, not works which were already accepted by the publisher.

Author regains her rights to remaining future works.

Germany

Sec. 40

Lapse of 5 years following conclusion of the contract.

Hungary

Sec. 52

Contracts where future works are indicated only by kind or nature.

Lapse of 5 years following the conclusion, and every 5 years after.

Italy

Art. 120

Concerns publishing agreements for future works

Max 10 years

general: employee works

Croatia

Copyright Act 1991

Art. 20

Employer has a right to use employee work solely for a period of 5 years.

Art. 21

Right to publish a work created in the course of employment vests with the employer for a single edition.

5 years or period agreed in the employment agreement/collective agreement or shorter period when significance of work is limited to a shorter period.

Lack of publication – rights revert bac to the author.

Czechia

§ 58

Death or dissolution of an employer joint with the lack of legal successors.

Rights revert back to the author automatically.

Hungary

Copyright Act 1969

Sec. 14

Right to use a work reverts back to the author after the maximum duration period prescribed by law expires.

Right to use a work reverts back to the author if the employer does not exercise her right during the period laid down by law.

Lithuania

Art. 9

Right revert back to the employee after 5 years.

Poland

Art. 12

Concerns works for hire, purposed for distribution in the employment contract.

Lack of distribution of work within 2 years from the date of receipt, unless other time period agreed between the parties.

Art. 14

Concerns work of an employee of a scientific institution.

Lack of publication contract within 6 months from the receipt of work or lapse of 2 years from receipt of work without publication.

Romania

Art. 45

Concerns employment contracts which assign rights in works created by an employee to an employer. By deafult the assignment lasts 3 years, and after this period rights revert back to the author.

Slovakia

Sec. 90

Rights revert back to the author if the employer has no legal successor.

Slovenia

Art. 101

After 10 years rights revert to the employee.

moral rights

Croatia

Art. 17

Use of work is prejudicial to the author’s honour or reputation

Czechia

§ 2382

Concerns unpublished works.

1) a work no longer corresponds to author’s opinions; and

2) work’s publication would significantly adversely affect author’s legitimate personal interests.

Applicable to performances

France

Art. L 121-4

No trigger specified [right of repentance or withdrawal placed in the chapter on moral righs]

Also:

Art. L 132-16

Assignment of the whole or part of the publisher’s business seriously impairs author’s material or moral interests.

Germany

Sec. 42

A work no longer reflects author’s conviction

Does not apply to the right to make a film of one’s work, after the shooting of a film has begun (sec. 88 & 90), and the righ to use a cinematographic work (sec. 89 & 90).

Hungary

Sec. 11

Concerns publishing agreements

Due cause/good reasons for withdrawal of consent to publish, or prohibition of further use of already published works.

Sec. 53

Concerns publishing agreements

Trigger: good reasons

Relationship between those sections is unclear

Poland

Art. 56

Concerns both copyright transfer and licenses.

Vital creative interests

Portugal

Art. 62

Concerns published works

Moral reasons

Copyright Act 1966

Art. 58

Slovakia

Sec. 75

Concerns license agreement on publication.

Publisher does not allow author to make corrections to her work.

Spain

Art. 46

Change in intellectual or moral convictions of the author.

publishing: time-based termination

Spain

Art. 69

Lapse of 10-year period in case of agreements including solely flat-rate remuneration.

Lapse of 15-year period “after the author has put the publisher in a position to carry out the reproduction of the work”.

publishing: max term

France

Art. L-132-4

Concerns publishing contracts for future works.

Max for period of 5 years following conclusion of a contract.

Italy

Art. 120

Concerns future works

Max 10 years

Art. 122

Concerns publishing agreements “on term” (for a limited time period)

Max 20 years

publishing: lack of acceptance

Luxembourg

Art. 15

Lack of acceptance of work within 12 months following delivery

publishing: lack of initial publication

Belgium

Art. XI.196.

Lack of publication of work within an agreed time, and if no time was agreed, within time determined by honest practices of profession, without a justified reason

Croatia

Art. 66

Lack of initial publication within the agreed time or time determined by law.

Denmark

Copyright Act 1994

Sec. 36

Lack of the first publication within 2 years or 4 years in case of musical works, following delivery of complete manuscript.

Finland

Sec. 33

Lack of publication of work within a reasonable time.

Sec. 34

Lack of the first publication within 2 years or 4 years for musical works.

France

Art. L132-17

Lack of first publication within an appropriate period of time given by author in a formal notice.

Hungary

Copyright Act 1969

Sec. 33

Lack of publication of work within 1) the agreed time, 2) the statutory period of time, 3) a reasonable period of time if no 1) or 2).

Italy

Art. 127

Lack of publication within 1) the agreed time, which may not exceed 2 years from the delivery of work, 2) 2 years following a written request to the publisher, if no time specified by the contract, 3) time indicated by a court.

Lithuania

Art. 45

Lack of publication of work within the agreed time.

Portugal

Art. 86

Lack of publication of all copies in an edition, regardless of the author’s call to publish missing copies.

Romania

Art. 57

Publisher has not published the work within the agreed time, or if time not specified, within 1 year from acceptance of work.

Slovenia

Art. 92

Publisher has not publish the work within the agreed time, and if time not specified, within the reasonable time, no later than 1 year after work was delivered

Spain

Art. 68

Lack of publication within the agreed time.

Sweden

Sec. 33

Lack of publication of work within a reasonable time.

Sec. 34

Lack of the first publication within 2 years or 4 years for musical works.

publishing: lack of subsequent publication (next edition)

Bulgaria

Art. 52

Concerns agreements for more than one edition.

Lack of a new edition withing a year of author’s request.

Croatia

Art. 66

Lack of the initial publication of a second edition within the agreed time or time determined by law.

Czechia

Sec. 24

Concerns publishing agreements for a single edition.

Trigger: exhaustion of the initial edition and lack of agreement on the new edition within 6 months.

Denmark

Copyright Act 1994

Sec. 36

Lack of publication of a new edition within 1 year following request by the author, made after the previous edition was sold out.

Finland

Sec. 34

Lack of publication of a new edition within 1 year following request by the author, made after previous edition was sold out.

France

Art. L132-17

Lack of first publication within the appropriate period of time given by the author in a formal notice following exhaustion of copies.

Italy

Art. 124

Concerns publishing contracts per edition, when more than 1 edition is foreseen.

Publisher’s refusal to publish a new edition or lack of publication of a new edition within 2 years of publisher’s notification of intention to publish new edition.

Luxembourg

Art. 16

Lack of publication of work after the work went out of print within 12 months following a written notice from the author.

Slovenia

Art. 92

Work out of print, and the publisher does not “proceed to publication” of a new edition within three years after author’s request.

Spain

Art. 68

Lack of publication of a new edition within 1 year from author’s request, when previous editions are sold out and the publishing contract envisaged more than one edition.

Sweden

Sec. 34

Lack of publication of a new edition within 1 year following request by the author, made after previous edition was sold out.

publishing: out-of-print

Bulgaria

Art. 51

Exhaustion of the (last) edition, even if before contract’s term lapses.

Croatia

Copyright Act 1991

Art. 69

All editions envisaged in the contract are out of print. Contract is automatically terminated.

Romania

Art. 57

Exhaustion of the last agreed edition.

Spain

Art. 69

Sale of all copies in case contract envisaged a single edition [termination before lapse of the term of agreement].

publishing: lack of publication in all languages

Lithuania

Art. 45

Lack of publication in all languages stipulated in the contract within period of 5 years from the transfer.

Spain

Art. 62

Lack of publication in all agreed languages within 5 years following submission of a complete work by the author.

publishing: non-use

Finland

Sec. 30

Lack of continous exploitation of work in a way determined by market and other conditions; lack of distribution of work in a usual manner.

France

Art. L132-17-2

Lack of permanent and ongoing exploitation of work.

Exercised separately for print and digital form of exploitation.

Sweden

Sec. 30

Lack of continous exploitation of work in a way determined by market and other conditions; lack of distribution of work in a usual manner.

publishing: inappropriate use

Slovakia

Sec. 75

Concerns license agreement for publication.

Publisher used the work in a way that reduces its value.

Spain

Act 1987

Art. 68

Publisher’s failure to continously exploit and commercially disseminate the work.

publishing: reporting on remuneration

France

Art. L132-17-3

1) lack of provision of statement of accounts within 3 months following a formal notice from the author;

2) statement of accounts not submitted for 2 consecutive years without prior formal notice from the author, where contract terminates 3 months after second formal notice.

Agreement terminates automatically.

publishing: lack of payment of royalties

France

Art. L132-17-3-1

Lack of royalties payment within 3 months following a formal notice from the author.

Agreement terminates automatically.

Art. L132-17-4

Lack of payment of royalties for 2 consecutive years following period of 4 years after publication.

publishing: transfer of rights to a third party

Portugal

Art. 100

Assignment causes or will cause moral damages to the author.

Spain

Art. 68

Inappropriate assignment of publisher’s right to a third party.

publishing: transfer of business to a third party

France

Art. L 132-16

Assignment of the whole or part of the publisher’s business seriously impairs author’s material or moral interests.

Spain

Art. 68

Change of ownership of a publisher.

publishing: bankruptcy, liquidation, death etc

Belgium

Art. XI.200.

1) bankruptcy, 2)judicial re-organisation, 3) liquidation of the publisher

Author needs to send a formal notice via registered mail with acknowledgement of receipt.

France

L132-15

Sale of a company with business activities ceasing for more than 3 months or liquidation.

Italy

Art. 135

Bankruptcy of a publisher when the publishing activity is not resumed within period of 2 years from declaration of bankruptcy.

Luxembourg

Art. 17

1) bankruptcy,

2) “granting of arrangement”,

3) liquidation,

4) death of the publisher

Portugal

Art. 106

Death of the publisher when a successor does not continue to publish.

Spain

Art. 68

Liquidation

publishing: priority to publish work in electronic form

Croatia

Art. 65

2 years following conclusion of the contract

Romania

Art. 53

Concerns publishers who acquired a right to publish the work in a paper form, and offer an equal price to similar bidders.

audio-visual: max term

Portugal

Copyright Act 1966

Art. 124

Concerns contributions to cinematographic works

Max term is 7 years

[exclusive to non-exclusive]

Slovenia

Art. 104

Applies to agreements on audiovisual adaptation.

Lapse of 10-year period from the conclusion of the original agreement [exclusive to non-exclusive].

audio-visual: time-based termination

Germany

Sec. 88

Concerns film adaptation of work.

Lapse of 10-year period following conclusion of an agreement

After the term lapses, author can make another film of her work

[exclusive to non-exclusive].

audio-visual: lack of completion

Croatia

Art. 121

Audiovisual work not completed within 5 years after conclusion of the agreement.

Denmark

Copyright Act 1994

Sec. 41

Film not produced within a period of 5 years following author’s fulfilment of her obligations.

Finland

Sec. 40

Concerns film contracts.

Film not produced and distributed within a reasonable time or within a period of 5 years in case of no fault on the producer’s side.

Hungary

Sec. 66

Concerns agreements on adoption for screen.

1) producer does not start making an adaptation within 4 years from conclusion of contract; 2) producer does not finish an adaptation within reasonable time limit.

Italy

Art. 50

Concerns literary and musical contributions to cinematographic works.

Lack of completion within 3 years from delivery of work.

Portugal

Art. 136

Concerns cinematographic works.

Belongs to author of a literary or musical part.

Lack of completion within 3 years from delivery of the contribution.

Slovenia

Art. 110

Concerns film production contracts.

Lack of completion within 5 years following conclusion of the contract.

Sweden

Sec. 40

Concerns film contracts.

Film not produced and distributed within a reasonable time or within a period of 5 years in case of no fault on the producer’s side.

audio-visual: lack of initial distribution

Croatia

Art. 121

Audiovisual work not distributed within 2 years after its completion.

Finland

Sec. 40

Concerns film contracts.

Film not produced and distributed within a reasonable time or within a period of 5 years in case of no fault on the producer’s side.

Italy

Art. 50

Concerns literary and musical contributions to cinematographic works.

Lack of distribution/showing of the work within 3 years after its completion.

Poland

Art. 72

Concerns works created for use in an audiovisual work.

Lack of distribution of the audiovisual work within 5 years after it is completed, or a shorter period agreed by the parties.

[exclusive to non-exclusive]

Portugal

Art. 136

Concerns cinematographic works

Belongs to the author of literary or musical part.

Lack of distribution within 3 years after completion.

Slovenia

Art. 110

Concerns film production contract.

Lack of distribution within 1 year after completion of work.

Sweden

Sec. 40

Concerns film contracts.

Film not produced and distributed within a reasonable time or within a period of 5 years in case of no fault on the producer’s side.

audio-visual: bankruptcy, liquidation, death etc

Belgium

Art. XI.185.

1) lack of producer’s activity for a period exceeding 12 months, or

2) lack of sale of audiovisual work within period of 12 months after publication of liquidation

France

Art. L1323-30

Concerns audiovisual production agreements.

Sale of the company with business activities ceasing for more than 3 months or liquidation.

performance: max term

Belgium

Art.XI.201

Contracts for representation for the purpoe of live performance involving transfer or exclusive license.

Max 3 years.

Denmark

Copyright Act 1994

§ 32

Concerns agreements on public performance including non-exclusive transfer of rights.

Agreement valid for 3 years.

Finland

§ 30

Concerns agreements on public performance including non-exclusive transfer of rights.

Agreement valid for 3 years.

France

Art. L132-19

Concerns representation contracts involving grant of exclusive rights.

Max term: 5 years.

Luxembourg

Art. 19

Concerns agency agreements for performance of live performances.

Max term is 3 years.

Spain

Art. 75

Concerns theatrical and musical performance contracts.

Duration of exclusive assignment cannot exceed 5 years.

Sweden

Art. 30

Concerns agreements on public performance involving non-exclusive transfer of rights.

Max term 3 years.

performance: lack of completion

Portugal

Art. 136 & 139

Concerns contracts for scenic representation and performance.

Belongs to the author of a literary or musical part.

Lack of completion within 3 years after delivery of a contribution.

performance: lack of initial performance

Croatia

Copyright Act 1991

Art. 75

Concerns presentation and performance contract.

Lack of performance or presentation within the agreed time.

Hungary

Copyright Act 1969

Sec. 39

Lack of performance within the agreed time, and if time not specified by the contract, within a reasonable time.

Italy

Art. 127

Lack of performance within 1) the agreed time, which might not exceed 2 years, 2) when not specified by a contract 5 years following written request to the publisher (producer), 3) time indicated by a court.

Poland

Art. 57 & 92

Lack of distribution of work (which was intended for distribution) within the agreed time, and if no time was agreed, within 2 years after the work was received.

Portugal

Art. 136 & 139

Concerns contracts for scenic representation and performance.

Belongs to the author of a literary or musical part.

Lack of performance within 3 years from completion.

Slovenia

Art. 98

Concerns performance agreements.

Trigger: lack of performance within the agreed time.

Spain

Art. 81 & 75

Lack of initial performance within the agreed time, or time stipulated by the IP law [art. 75: 1 year, or in case of stage performance within a duration of season when contract was concluded].

performance: interruption in performances

Belgium

Art. XI.201.

Concerns contracts of representation for the purpose of live performances involving transfer or exclusive license of work.

Trigger: lack of performance for 2 consecutive years [rights revert back automatically].

Bulgaria

Art 56

Concerns contracts for public presentation or performance.

Lack of public presentation for a period longer than 1 year.

Denmark

Copyright Act 1994

§32

Concerns agreements on public performance involving exclusive transfer of rights for a period longer than 3 years.

Lack of use of work for a period of 3 years.

[change of exclusive to non-exclusive transfer]

Finland

§30

Concerns agreements on public performance involving exclusive transfer of rights for a period longer than 3 years.

Lack of use of work for a period of 3 years.

[change of exclusive to non-exclusive transfer]

France

Art. L132-19

Concerns representation contracts involving grant of exclusive rights.

Lack of performance for 2 consecutive years.

Italy

Art. 140

Lack of further performances, after initial performance or cycle of performances, in spite author’s request.

Romania

Art. 60

Concerns agreements on theatrical or musical performance.

Lack of performances for 2 consecutive years, unless other term specified in the agreement.

Spain

Art. 81

Lack of performance for a period of 1 year following initial performance.

Sweden

Sec. 30

Concerns agreements on public performance including exclusive transfer of rights for a period exceeding 3 years.

Trigger: lack of use of work for a period of 3 years.

[exclusive to non-exclusive]

performance: inappropriate exploitation

Poland

Art. 58 & 92

Concerns performance

Publication of work in an inappropriate form or with changes the author [performer] could legitimately oppose.

performance: bankruptcy, liquidation, death etc

Austria

Sec. 32(2) & 68

Concerns contracts on reproduction and distribution of performance

Insolvency of a party to an agreement, and lack of reproduction of work on the date of opening of the insolvency proceedings

Portugal

Copyright Act 1966

Art. 117

Death, bankruptcy, interdiction, dementia, prodigality of the producer (entrepreneur)

adaptation: lack of completion

Italy

Art. 35

Concerns dramatic-muscial works, musical compositions with words, choreographic and pantomime works (more specific: joining of literary text with music)

No music added to a literary composition within 5 years, in case of libretto for opera or operetta, within 1 year, in case of other works

adaptation: lack of initial distribution/performance

Italy

Art. 35

Concerns dramatic-muscial works, musical compositions with words, choreographic and pantomime works (more specific: joining of literary text with music).

Lack of performance within the agreed term, or other term when applicable.

adaptation: interruption in distribution/performance

Italy

Art. 35

Concerns dramatic-muscial works, musical compositions with words, choreographic and pantomime works (more specific: joining of literary text with music).

Lack of performance following the first performance for a period of 10 years for opera, operetta, oratorio and symphony, or for a period of 2 years for other compositions.

journalistic works: lack of initial publication

Italy

Art. 39

Concerns articles sent to periodicals or journals by other persons than members of editorial staff.

The author cannot dispose of the article until 6 months pass and the accepted article is not published.

[exclusive to non-exclusive]

Portugal

Art. 174

Concerns publications in journals and other periodicals.

Author might not publish her contribution to a journal within 3 months from publication of the issue which included her work.

[exclusive to non-exclusive]

Romania

Art. 46

Lack of publication of accepted work within 1 month for daily newspapers, and 6 months for other publications.

[exclusive to non-exclusive]

Spain

Art. 52

Lack of publication within 1 month in case of daily newspapers, and 6 months in case of other periodical publications.

[exclusive to non-exclusive]

journalistic works: lack of acceptance

Italy

Art. 39

Concerns articles sent to periodicals or journals by other persons than members of editorial staff.

The author cannot dispose of the article until: 1 month passes without receiving the notice of acceptance.

republication: contributions to collections

Austria

Sec. 36

Concerns contributions to a periodical collections involving an exclusive transfer.

Author can publish her contribution somewhere else: 1) immediately after publication of a newspaper, or 2) lapse of 1 year following the end of the year when the collection was published.

Germany

Sec. 38(1)

Concerns works included in periodically published collections

Right to reproduce, distribute and make available work otherwise than in a periodically published collection after period of 1 year following publication.

republication: scientific works

Belgium

Art. XI.196.

Scientific articles resulting from research financed at least in half by public funds.

Right to make article freely available to the public after period of 12 months (human and social sciences) or 6 months (other sciences).

Germany

Sec. 38(4)

Concerns scientific contributions reprinted in periodically published collections resulting from research financed at least in half by public funds.

Right to make a contribution available to public after the period of 12 months after first publication.

Credits – Legal analysis and mapping: Ula Furgał; Web design: James Trimble

Our mapping shows that the laws of Member States offer a variety of solutions allowing authors and performers to terminate agreements and to regain their rights. Some of those provisions are general in their nature, others apply only to certain types of works (audiovisual, adaptations, journalistic etc) or certain types of contracts (publishing agreements, adaptation agreements etc). A general use-it-or-lose-it right similar to that introduced by article 22 of the Copyright Directive is a part of national laws of 8 Member States.

It is possible to distinguish four different types of revocation rights depending on how they are triggered.

  • The first group of provisions is linked to the exercise of rights and the use of works. It includes use-it-or-lose-it provisions as well as provisions triggered by the lack of initial use of works, for example publication of a book, and insufficient or inappropriate use of works.
  • The second group brings together provisions triggered by moral rights concerns, when the use of work is no longer in tune with author’s convictions or reputation.
  • The third group includes provisions triggered by the change in licensee’s or a transferee’s circumstances, such as bankruptcy, insolvency or a lack of a legal successor.
  • The fourth group are provisions triggered by a simple passage of time, with rights reverting back to the authors and performers after certain period of time lapses.

Provisions resembling the US termination right allowing authors to terminate the assignments after 35 years are a rarity in the EU Member States. More common are provisions prescribing a maximum term for which an agreement can be made.

Rights can revert back to creators automatically, however, in most situations authors and performers need to actively pursue their rights, by notifying their intent to terminate or setting an additional period of time for the use of work to resume.


Workshop

On 10 November 2020 we held a workshop with representatives of the European creator organisations on the topic of reversion rights in the European Union. The goal of the workshop was to bring together representatives of authors and performers to discuss the status of implementation of art. 22 in the Member States and debate the ways of bringing this provision to the attention of national lawmakers. Following the introduction to the CREATe’s work on the implementation of the CDSM Directive and the IPRIA’s Author’s Interest Project, we presented the results of our mapping of the reversion provisions in the EU. The workshop concluded with an open discussion with participants.

The participants of the workshop included representatives of such creator organisations as: Society of Authors (SAA), The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS), Recorded Artists Actors Performers (RAAP), AEPO-ARTIS, European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA), Polish Society of Authors and Composers (ZAiKS), the Society of Authors, and European Council of Literary Translators’ Association (CEATL).


Open letter

On 11 December 2020 a group of leading international academics has published an open letter concerning the right of revocation (art. 22 of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market). The letter addressed to the European Commission and the relevant national authorities of EU Member States, identifies the revocation right as “an historic opportunity to achieve better copyright outcomes for creators”, and calls upon governments to explicitly address the right in their consultations about implementing the Copyright Directive.

Art-22-CDSM-open-letter-with-signatories


DIRECTIVE (EU) 2019/ 790 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL – of 17 April 2019 – on copyright and related rights in the Digital Single Market and amending Directives 96/ 9/ EC and 2001/ 29/ EC

Article 22 – Right of revocation

1. Member States shall ensure that where an author or a performer has licensed or transferred his or her rights in a work or other protected subject matter on an exclusive basis, the author or performer may revoke in whole or in part the licence or the transfer of rights where there is a lack of exploitation of that work or other protected subject matter.

2. Specific provisions for the revocation mechanism provided for in paragraph 1 may be provided for in national law, taking into account the following:

(a) the specificities of the different sectors and the different types of works and performances; and

(b) where a work or other subject matter contains the contribution of more than one author or performer, the relative importance of the individual contributions, and the legitimate interests of all authors and performers affected by the application of the revocation mechanism by an individual author or performer.

Member States may exclude works or other subject matter from the application of the revocation mechanism if such works or other subject matter usually contain contributions of a plurality of authors or performers.

Member States may provide that the revocation mechanism can only apply within a specific time frame, where such restriction is duly justified by the specificities of the sector or of the type of work or other subject matter concerned.

Member States may provide that authors or performers can choose to terminate the exclusivity of the contract instead of revoking the licence or transfer of the rights.

3. Member States shall provide that the revocation provided for in paragraph 1 may only be exercised after a reasonable time following the conclusion of the licence or the transfer of the rights. The author or performer shall notify the person to whom the rights have been licensed or transferred and set an appropriate deadline by which the exploitation of the licensed or transferred rights is to take place. After the expiry of that deadline, the author or performer may choose to terminate the exclusivity of the contract instead of revoking the licence or the transfer of the rights.

4. Paragraph 1 shall not apply if the lack of exploitation is predominantly due to circumstances that the author or the performer can reasonably be expected to remedy.

5. Member States may provide that any contractual provision derogating from the revocation mechanism provided for in paragraph 1 is enforceable only if it is based on a collective bargaining agreement.


Further reading:

Furgał U, ‘Reversion rights in the European Union Member States’ CREATe Working Paper 2020/11, available at: https://zenodo.org/record/4281035#.X8dg9bPLeUk

Giblin R and Yuvraj J, ‘Are Contracts Enough? An Empirical Study of Author Rights in Australia Publishing Agreements’ (2020) 44(1) Melbourne University Law Review, available at SSRN: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3541350

Giblin R and Yuvaraj J, ‘Why Were Commonwealth Reversionary Rights Abolished (And What Can We Learn Where They Remain?)’ (2019) 41(4) European Intellectual Property Review 232, available at SSRN: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3296902

Giblin R, ‘A New Copyright Bargain? Reclaiming Lost Culture and Getting Authors Paid’ (2018) 41(3) The Columbia Journal of Law & The Arts 369, available at: https://journals.library.columbia.edu/index.php/lawandarts/article/view/2019

Giblin R and Weatherall K (eds), What if we could reimagine copyright?, (ANU Press 2017) https://press.anu.edu.au/publications/what-if-we-could-reimagine-copyright

Kretschmer M, ‘Copyright Term Reversion and the “Use-it-or-lose-it” Principle’ (2012) 1(1) International Journal of Music Business Research 44, available at SSRN: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2063759

Kretschmer M, Derclaye E, Favale M and Watt R, The Relationship between Copyright and Contract Law (2010) Intellectual Property Office Research Paper No. 2010 (04), available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2710614

Bently L, Kretschmer M, Dudenbostel T, Calatrava Moreno MdC and Radauer A, Strengthening the Position of Press Publishers and Authors and Performers in the Copyright Directive (2017) European Parliament, available at: http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/149478/


‘Comment of the European Copyright Society Addressing Selected Aspects of the Implementation of Articles 18 to 22 of the Directive (EU) 2019/790 on Copyright in the Digital Single Market’ (2020) 11(2) JIPITEC available at: https://www.jipitec.eu/issues/jipitec-11-2-2020/5105

Dussolier S, ‘EU Contractual Protection of Creators: Blind Spots and Shortcomings’ (2018) 41(3) The Columbia Journal of Law & The Arts 435, available at: https://journals.library.columbia.edu/index.php/lawandarts/article/view/2021

Dussolier S, Ker C, Iglesias M and Smits Y, Contractual Agreements Applicable to Creators: Law and Practice of Selected Member States (2014) Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs Directorate General for Internal Policies of the Union, available at: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/meetdocs/2009_2014/documents/juri/dv/contractualarangements_/contractualarangements_en.pdf

Heald P, ‘The Impact of Implementing a 25-Year Reversion/Termination Right in Canada’ (2018) University of Illinois College of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 20-18, available at SSRN: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3548702

Heald P, ‘Copyright Reversion to Authors (and the Rosetta Effect): An Empirical Study of Reappearing Books’ (2017), available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3084920

Karas M and Kirstein R, ‘More rights, less income? An economic analysis of the new copyright law in Germany’ (2019) 175(3) Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE) 420, available at https://ideas.repec.org/a/mhr/jinste/urndoi10.1628-jite-2019-0029.html

Karas M and Kirstein R, ‘Efficient contracting under the U.S. copyright termination law’ (2018) 54(C) International Review of Law and Economics 39, available at: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:irlaec:v:54:y:2018:i:c:p:39-48

Towse R, ‘Copyright Reversion in the Creative Industries: Economics and Fair Remuneration’ (2018) 41(3) The Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts 467, available at: https://journals.library.columbia.edu/index.php/lawandarts/article/view/2023

This resource is the result of a collaborative project between CREATe, University of Glasgow and the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia (IPRIA), University of Melbourne. It has been supported by Assoc. Prof. Rebecca Giblin's ARC Future Fellowship The Author's Interest and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870626870626 (“reCreating Europe: Rethinking digital copyright law for a culturally diverse, accessible, creative Europe”, WP3 Authors and Performers, D3.1: Dr Ula Furgal and Prof. Martin Kretschmer).

Data development has been supported by:

AHRC grant no: AH/S001298/1