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Zivkovic Samardzic Successful for 021 in Precedent-Setting Copyright Case

Serbia
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Zivkovic Samardzic has announced its successful representation of Serbia's 021 broadcaster in a copyright infringement case resulting in what the firm calls “a landmark decision … reinterpret[ing] the current events exception in Serbian copyright law."

021 — a broadcaster and news site operator in Novi Sad, Serbia — was sued for copyright infringement by photographer Nebojsa Radosavljevic for allegedly using a photograph without proper authorization, after the broadcaster had used Radosavljevic’s photograph as part of a report on a traffic accident which left seven people injured in the city of Kragujevac. The photograph was taken several minutes after the accident, on the site. 

According to Zivkovic Samardzic, “in its decision, the Court of Appeal in Belgrade reinterpreted the current events exception to copyright infringement from Article 43 of the Serbian Copyright Act in a way resembling the Article 5.3(c) of the EU Copyright Directive … [which] allows for exception in cases where use of the copyrighted work is connected with the reporting of current events, to the extent justified by the informatory purpose of the reporting."

The firm reports that, “previously, Serbian courts, when construing the current events exception, played rather safely and kept closer to the original wording of the Article 10bis(2) of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, which mentions explicitly, when allowing the current events exception, 'works seen or heard in the course of the [current] event' only, and not works related to the current event. "

The Court of Appeal in Belgrade underlined the informatory purpose of 021’s reporting on the “serious trafic accident in the city of Kragujevac” and concluded that the photograph, since taken immediately after the accident and on the very scene of the accident, was “an integral part of the reported current event.” Thus, the Court of Appeal concluded, “the defendant was authorized to reproduce the photograph and make it available to the public, without the author’s permission and without paying remuneration.” 

The Zivkovic Samardzic team representing 021 at the Higher Court in Belgrade and in appellate proceedings at the Court of Appeal in Belgrade was led by Associate Milos Stojkovic.

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