Zagreb - The COVID-19 crisis has had a devastating impact on the creative and cultural industries which, along with air transport, were hit hardest, Minister of Culture and Media Nina Obuljen Koržinek said in Parliament on Thursday while presenting the new bill on copyright and related rights.
The adoption of the bill is crucial for the development of Croatian cultural and creative industries, the minister said, adding that before the crisis they had accounted for 4.6% of total employment and for 6.3% of GDP.
Obuljen Koržinek said that these industries had performed better in terms of exports than some other sectors, and the coronavirus crisis had forced them to move many of their activities to the digital sphere. That's why this bill focuses on better protecting copyright and related rights in the digital environment, she added.
Lawmakers welcomed copyright protection but said that the bill needed further elaboration because there were still those unhappy about how this matter was dealt with.
Among them are journalists who do not like the fact their employers are the sole owners of the copyright on the work done in their environment, said Marija Selak Raspudić of the opposition Bridge party. On the other hand, performers are critical of inconsistency because journalists exercise their rights collectively, while they cannot, she added.
Obuljen Koržinek said that the situation between journalists and performers was different, adding that the bill would ensure that journalists and publishers were paid for the content they produced. Journalists will be able to agree through their collective organisation a percentage for redistribution, the minister said.
Davor Ivo Stier of the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) also drew attention to unfair situations, saying that if a person writes an article for a newspaper, they get paid for it by the publisher, but if the article is picked up by news websites or large digital platforms, only the publisher gets paid, while the author does not.
The bill provides a framework to redress such injustices, Minister Obuljen Koržinek said, expressing confidence that the new law, with its clear rules, would ensure greater legal security for all holders of copyright and related rights.