What is copyright?
As the Copyright Act says, copyright is a right that accrues to an author who has created works in the field of literature, art or science.
In Estonia, copyright is protected during the lifetime of the author and an additional 70 years after his or her death. In the case of joint authorship (where a work has several authors), the 70-year period starts when the last of the co-authors dies. The deadline is calculated from 1 January of the year following the year of the author’s death.
Once the copyright term expires, any interested party is free to use the work. This means that the work is now in the public domain.
However, for works in the public domain, the rules on authorship, protection of the author’s name, honour and dignity, and protection of the title shall be respected. This means that the title and author of the work shall be indicated even for works in the public domain.
Below you will find 7 animations that explain the basics of copyright and intellectual property.
Intellectual property is a creative work that is the result of human mental activity. There are three subtypes of intellectual property: copyright, copyright-related rights, and idle property.
As the Copyright Act says, copyright arises for literary, artistic and scientific works.
Copyright is created for a literary, artistic and scientific work by the creation of the work, and it is not necessary to make separate registrations for this.
The right to the rights accompanying the copyright arises from the performer of the work, producer of phonograms, radio and television organization, producer of the first recording of a film or the person who, after the expiration of the term of validity of the copyright, is the first to lawfully publish or direct a previously unpublished work to the public.
However, industrial property rights must be requested from the Patent Office.
In the general sense, the author is the creator of the work.
Only a person can be an author, i.e. not machines, animals or organizations.
It is worth remembering that copyright also arises for a work in progress or a work that has not yet been published.
Did you know that a verbally expressed work is also protected by copyright?
You can find a sample list of rights protected by copyright in the Copyright Act.
The authors have personal and property rights – you can familiarize yourself with them through the animated video below.
But did you know that, for example, a teacher who creates a work in the course of his work duties does acquire the copyright to that work, but the author’s property rights to use the work within the limits prescribed by the work duties, in most cases, remain with the employer?
The rights associated with copyright belong to the performer, producer of phonograms, television and radio service provider, producer of the first recording of a film, as well as the person who, after the expiration of the term of copyright, first lawfully publishes or directs to the public a previously unpublished work, and the person who publishes a literary critical or scientific edition of a work not protected by copyright (§ 62 subsection 1 of the Civil Code).
In Estonia, performers are represented by the Estonian Performers Association, phonogram producers are represented by the Estonian Association of the Phonogram Producers, the producers of the first recording of the film have been founded by the Association of Film First Recording Producers, television and radio service providers represent themselves independently, as is the case with radio service and first film recording producers.
In general, you can make copies of copyrighted works for your own use. This is because the Empty Cassette Act came into force in Estonia in 1996, or the so-called the obligation to pay the fee for private copying, which was also supplemented by a regulation in 2021.
In Estonia, the Estonian Authors` Society, has been designated as the collector of compensation for private copying.
How to use works protected by copyright and what are the exceptions to free use – see the video!
Collective representation organizations in Estonia are following:
The organizations of collective representation are all separate institutions, and if you wish to become a member, you must contact each of them separately.
The exception is the Eesti Audiovisaalautorite Liit, with whom EAÜ has signed a collective representation agreement since 2003.
Want to know more about intellectual property?
Take a look at the project of the University of Tartu Viljandi Culture Academy, Estonian Authors’ Society, and Estonian Association of the Phonogram Producers, in the course of which the website www.intellektuaalomand.ee was created.