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Copyright protection in Bulgaria

  • “Copyright Hypothesis" - book by Mr.Atanas Kostov



    Mr.Atanas Kostov - copyright attorney in Bulgaria. The book “Copyright Hypothesis".


    The book “Copyright Hypothesis" is the fruit of my synthesized ten-year experience as an intellectual property lawyer. The writing of every material in it is inspired by my work on a specific case, commenting on the legal basis and relevant case law. It is important to note that the purpose of writing the book is to be practical rather than to claim theoretical exhaustiveness. So I have selected and focused on this part of the texts of the Copyright and Related Rights Act, which are robbing, interesting and directly affecting the creative industries in Bulgaria. The bulk of the material in the book is a synthesis of theory and practice in the form of court decisions, which is systematically located for convenience at the end of each exhibition. How much current case law is adequate, internally uncontroversial and compliant with the legal framework, I have left to judge the reader myself, as the conclusions are obvious.

     I think that for this reason, the writing here will be useful not only for legal practitioners, but especially for the authors themselves - artists in the broad sense of the word, as well as architects, photographers, artists, designers, computer specialists and other professions, related to culture and science. Long contact with copyright issues of creative people has made me realize that they still do not have the courage, determination and legal culture to assert their rights to creators adequately. The reasons for this are of a different nature. Firstly, perhaps Bulgarian education does not offer these specialists the necessary knowledge and useful experience in the field of copyright and artistic management, which is particularly important in the context of a market society. Hence the lack of knowledge of the authors about the ways to protect their intellectual work, as well as the motivation to consult and seek specialized legal assistance in this field. Naturally, the well-developed jurisprudence of the courts and the prosecutor's office and, in my opinion, the little fuzzy criterion on the procedure and practical means of engaging and activating the administrative responsibility for copyright violations, a priority of the Ministry of culture. All this leads to a lack of trust in our society as to whether the protection of copyright in Bulgaria is real and working. Increasingly, in the public domain, there are data about successful measures in the field of copyright, but they concern mainly copyright and related rights of foreign authors and companies. The big question is is there a real protection for the rights of Bulgarian authors and what part of the case law shows a positive trend in this direction? 


    Copyright protection in Bulgaria. Copyright attorney in Bulgaria.



    IUSAUTHOR Law Firm is one of the few specialized law firms in Bulgaria that has an exclusive focus on protecting your copyrights nationally and internationally. IUSAUTHOR's activity in this area consists in copyright advice, drafting legal contracts and agreements in the field of copyright in general, as well as legal representation in court and prosecution in copyright disputes.

    In 2021, IUSATHOR was selected as the law firm of the year in Bulgaria. 

    The managing partner of IUSAUTHOR Law Firm is Atanas Kostov, a lawyer who is one of the top specialists in Bulgaria in the field of intellectual property, and he has focused his legal efforts in this area for 20 years. Atanas Kostov knows in detail the available international and national case law in copyright cases, and based on his experience and authority as a copyright specialist, he has been invited to participate in the Advisory Council on Intellectual Property at the Ministry of Culture, as well as a consultant in a working group of the legislative committee on some of the recent amendments to the Copyright and Related Rights Act. In his career, Atanas Kostov has written five books commenting in detail on copyright law and over 50 scientific articles in the same field, has participated in numerous seminars on copyright law as a lecturer, is one of the permanent authors of the prestigious legal publication "Labor and Law", has consulted numerous corporate clients and individual authors on copyright issues. Mr. Kostov has been a litigator in most of the relatively few copyright disputes litigated in Bulgaria concerning copyright protection in music, film, photography, computer software, literature, performing arts and science.

    At present, Mr. Kostov is also developing as a specialist in digital intellectual property regulation - in particular online media (radio stations, newspapers, sports websites, television) and Internet-based businesses such as presentation and commercial websites, online libraries, computer programs and databases, blockchain technologies, etc., advising these industries on their copyright issues. Intellectual property on the Internet is a key business aspect in the 21st century and Atanas Kostov is one of the few specialists in Bulgaria who are familiar in detail with the specific aspects based on the so-called "Internet law" in the online environment, both in national and international aspects.

    Concept of copyright. According to Article 3, paragraph 1 of the Copyright and Related Rights Act, the subject of copyright is any work of literature, art and science which is the result of creative activity and is expressed in any way and in any objective form, such as:

    - literary works, including works of scientific and technical literature, works of journalism and computer programs;

    - musical works;

    - works for the stage - dramatic, musical-dramatic, pantomime, choreographic, etc;

    - films and other audiovisual works;

    - works of fine art, including works of applied art, design and folk arts and crafts;

    - realised works of architecture and applied development plans;

    - photographic works and works created in a manner analogous to photography;

    - approved architectural projects, approved spatial planning projects, maps, schemes, plans, etc., relating to architecture, spatial planning, geography, topography, museums and any field of science and technology;

    - graphic design of a printed publication;

    - cadastral maps and state topographical maps.

    (2) Copyright objects shall also include:

    - translations and adaptations of existing works and folklore works;

    - arrangements of musical and folklore works;

    - periodicals, encyclopaedias, collections, anthologies, bibliographies, databases and the like, which include two or more works or materials.

    (3) A part of a work referred to in par. 1 and 2, as well as preparatory sketches, plans and the like.

    Over the past several years, IUSAUTHOR has worked closely with the U.S. Copyright Office on the registration of copyright works in the United States. This copyright registration regime covers all 165 member countries of the Berne Convention, including Bulgaria and most of the EU member states, and the registered copyright work is also listed in the US Library of Congress. In contrast to the European copyright system, where copyright in a work arises from the moment of its creation and publication in the public domain, and where there is no registration of copyright, in the Anglo-Saxon system, and in this case in the United States, there is a registration regime with respect to a specific copyright. Registration is done at the U.S. Copyright Office by carrying out a specific administrative procedure for registering the copyright work. IUSAUTHOR offers its clients this specific way of documentary protection of their copyright, which is an exception to the general European principle. Our clients are thus able to register their copyright internationally, with protection extending to virtually all developed industrial countries that are signatories to the Berne Convention. At this stage, most Bulgarian legal entities that decide to preserve their intellectual property in this way are authors of software, literary works, works of visual art (design) and architecture. 

    Copyright protection in the court. 

    Law Firm IUSAUTHOR offers you legal defense in administrative and criminal proceedings concerning copyright infringement, copyright tort claims under Article 95 et seq. of the Copyright Law, as well as in connection with criminal proceedings under Article 172a of the Criminal Code. The law firm's website contains numerous articles by Atanas Kostov through which you can learn about the possible options for defending your procedural rights before the Ministry of Culture, the court and the prosecution. If you need specialized legal assistance regarding the judicial protection of copyright, please contact the team of the law firm IUSAUTHOR. 

    You can refer your question regarding copyright protection in Bulgaria here: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at +359888915215.


  • Recent amendments to the Copyright and Related Rights Act relating to audiovisual works.

    Recent amendments to the Copyright and Related Rights Act relating to audiovisual works.



    1. Introduction.

    My interest in the topic "changes to the regulatory framework in the field of audiovisual works in the Bulgarian Copyright act (ZAPSP) from December 2023" was provoked not only by purely professional considerations, but also by the fact that my direct observations of the industry in the last year lead me to several conclusion, both in my capacity as a citizen of this country, seeking and defending the truth [1] , and as a lawyer.

    It turns out that, unlike all other objects of copyright, which are for the most part managed collectively by organizations for the collective management of copyrights existing in Bulgaria (OKUPs) in the person of "Muzikautor", "Profon" , "Filmautor", "Theatreautor", it's strange why such an organization is missing in audio-visual works . This "absence" and the reasons for it will be the detailed subject of this article, and here a reasonable question arises - how a multi-million dollar industry in Bulgaria (on an annual basis) is "missed" as a collective management of rights? The second interesting question on the occasion is why there is a strong lobbying influence in the Bulgarian National Assembly, aimed at the licensing of audio-visual works, especially those created as author's content by private Bulgarian television stations, to be negotiated only with them - directly [ 2] , without any intermediary and without creating a clear criterion of how much these rights are actually worth as a market principle , because for example a criterion of how much the collective management of copyrights in the field of music is worth can be discovered and derived from the tariff of "Musician".