PWC Legal's Estonian office has successfully represented the Estonian Authors’ Society, the Estonian Association of the Phonogram Producers, the Estonian Performers’ Association, the Estonian Association of Audiovisual Authors, the Estonian Composers’ Union, the Association of Estonian Professional Musicians, the Estonian Directors’ and Dramaturgs’ Union, the Estonian Association of Stage Performers, and the Association of Professional Actors of Estonia in a dispute regarding compensation for the reproduction of original works.
According to PWC Legal, nearly 9000 creators represented by the organizations are entitled to the compensation under the EU Infosoc Directive, but were deprived of the right between 2014 and 2018 because of gaps in Estonia’s national legislation.
PWC Legal reported that, “since the Supreme Court of Estonia refused to open proceedings on appeals in cassation, the ruling handed down by Tallinn Circuit Court on June 30, 2020 became final on Tuesday, December 8, 2020.” As a result of the ruling, Estonia will have to pay over EUR 3.5 million to the plaintiffs by January 7, 2021, which, PWC Legal reported, “covers five years’ compensation for reproduction of works for private use, penalties on late payment of the amount and procedural costs.” In addition, the firm reported, “a further penalty in the amount of EUR 656 per each delayed day is due until the entire amount has been paid."
According to PWC Legal, “at present, Estonia is the only member state of the European Union which has not guaranteed its creators a fair compensation for copies made in the digital and smart environment for private use and where the affected persons need to retroactively seize the court for the effective protection of their rights.”
“Estonian creators are entitled to a compensation that equals at least the average compensation in the EU,” commented Priit Latt, Partner at PWC Legal in Estonia, who led the firm's team on the deal. “However, Estonian legislation is currently not yet in line with EU law and still fails to take into consideration the realities of the digital era, for which reason the creators have no choice but to litigate for the compensation. Authors, performers and phonogram producers of the digital era must also have a right to demand protection of their works and fair compensation for the use of their works.”