Feb 21, 2022

It is a general rule that all copyrights belong to the creator of the work. However, it is possible that the entirety of economic copyrights or a part of them will be transferred to another entity. In our article we write about what is specific for each copyright type, who may be the holder of a right, and whether the help of a patent attorney or legal advisor is necessary when concluding copyright contracts.


Personal copyrights are vested in the creator of the work from the moment the work is established, they are unlimited in time and cannot be sold or waived. This means that you cannot effectively transfer your personal rights to another person. After the death of the creator, the following entities may take legal action for the protection of personal copyrights of the creator: the creator’s spouse, his children, parents, siblings and children of siblings. However, it is possible for the creator of a work to decide to grant this right to another entity, not mentioned above. 

Personal copyright protects the creator’s bond with the work, which, however, does not mean that the creator must in some emotional way identify with his work. This is because personal rights arise even when the creator has created the work unknowingly.

On the basis of the author’s personal copyright, he has the right to:

  • authorship of the piece;
  • marking the work with his name and surname, pseudonym or to make the work available anonymously;
  • prohibiting others from infringing the content and form of the work;
  • demand for reliable performance of the work;
  • decide on the first release of the work to the public;
  • supervision over the way the work is used.


Proprietary copyrights means that the person entitled to that right may prohibit others from using the work, conclude license agreements for the subject of the use of the work in the fields of use agreed by the parties, for license fee or free of charge, and may also sue others for payment for unlawful use of the work.

It should be however noted, that not every use of the work is prohibited and not always the holder of priopretary copyrights may react effectively. In particular, it is allowed to use the work for personal use, which includes also people who are close friends of the user. It is also not possible to prohibit others from temporarily reproducing the work, if this is necessary for the lawful use of the work, even if the reproduction of the work was not included in the license agreement.

Concluding license agreements is another right of the entity using the priopretary copyrights to the work. The license agreement may be exclusive or non-exclusive, paid or free of charge, fixed-term or indefinite. The matter of selecting and correctly wording a license agreement can be a very complicated process. For this reason, it is generally advisable to use a patent attorney or attorney at law when concluding this type of contract.

The action for payment of the relevant remuneration applies to cases where a third party used the work without the consent of the proprietor of proprietary copyrights, as well as when consent in the form of, for example, a license agreement was expressed, but the lecensee exceeded the scope of his rights. An example of such a situation is when the licensee has been authorized to reproduce the work in paper version, and despite the lack of such permission, the licensee has made the work available in an electronic version (e.g. on its website).

If a lawsuit in a copyright case is filed, it is necessary to use the services of attorney at law or patent attorney in cases where the value of the dispute exceeds 20,000 zloty.


In order to avoid costly lawsuits and negative public opinion, it is worth knowing the types of copyrights available to authors and to approach works available online with a critical eye. Caution is especially recommended to entrepreneurs who use all kinds of photographic, literary or video works in their business activities.The basic mistake of Internet users is the belief that if other users freely use a certain work, it means that the work must be available to the public and is not protected by copyright. It should be remembered that ignorance of the name of the author of the work does not justify using the work without his or hers consent.

It is best to protect yourself against infringement of copyright by using works found only in legal and proven sources. Of course, for each industry, such a source will be different. For example, in the case of entities using other people’s photos, such sources will be paid or free photo banks, such as iStock (, pixabay (, or Shutterstock ( It should be emphasized that even by paying the license fee for the photograph, we do not acquire an unlimited right to use someone’s work. The terms of use of the photos are always regulated separately by each entity selling the license in documents which are usually called:”License terms”, “terms of service”, “terms of use”.


+48 (58) 716 71 68