Account of professional artists

It is a bill concerning professional artists, which is listed on the website of the Rijkswetcentrum as a bill concerning the rights of a professional artist (form no. UD 208). – During the work on the project, all comments submitted, including by institutions, trade unions, artists’ organizations and private individuals. As part of the consultation, talks were also held with representatives of manufacturers and importers of electronic equipment – highlighted in Monday’s communiqué from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

– The draft law on professional artists prepared by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, after advice from the Committee of the Council of Ministers for Digitization, will be addressed to the Standing Committee of the Council of Ministers – said Wanda Zwinogrodzka, deputy minister of culture. And she added: – We hope that the draft will be discussed in the Sejm after the parliamentary holiday at the latest.

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Consultation and agreements – what has changed?

According to the ministry, a number of substantive, procedural, binding and formal changes were made during the work on the bill. Among other things, it was decided to change the name of the project in the Professional Artists Act. The basic definitions in the legal act were clarified and supplemented and new ones were introduced – incl. the so-called ICT system of the register maintained by the director of the Polish Chamber of Artists. This system will be used for communication with all entities participating in the process of certification of the rights of a professional artist: artists, members of the Artists Council and representative organizations. Records have also been established regarding data storage security procedures and applicant authentication.

– In addition, a new provision has appeared in the draft law, according to which the Council of the Polish Chamber of Artists will be obliged to prepare a report on the fair use market in the Republic of Poland. The report looks at, among other things, the scope of permitted use, the types of devices and the harm artists suffer as a result of duplicating their works – the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage said in a release.

Moreover, as a result of the consultations, it was decided to exclude industrial equipment from the reprographic compensation, so that the design is in line with the relevant rulings of the CJEU.

At the request of the Human Rights Section of the Student Legal Clinic of Jagiellonian University, the list of persons who could request confirmation of professional artist rights was also expanded.

The project also changed the application deadlines and the period for which social security grants are awarded to the lowest-earning professional artists. They have been adjusted to the reality with regard to the period of tax settlements.

Proposed rights for professional artists have not changed, including:

  • subsidies to insurance premiums (depending on income from 20% to 80%);
  • exemption from premiums for civil law contracts (commissions) for artists who pay for their own insurance;
  • be in possession of a professional artist card;
  • the opportunity to receive a scholarship or stipend.

The bill has received a positive advice from the Joint Committee of the Central Government and the Local Authorities, is currently being assessed by the Digitization Committee and is subsequently submitted to the Standing Committee of the Council of Ministers.

According to the ministry, the bill will be delivered to the Sejm in the coming months.

Trade to Professional Artists

The law civilizes the conditions for artistic work and provides the lowest-earning artists with a minimum of social security in the form of access to social and health insurance. The costs of the proposed solutions do not weigh on the taxpayer because they are financed from the proceeds of the so-called reprographic levy and blank media levy (so-called fair culture compensation) paid by manufacturers and importers of electronic equipment. Fair culture compensation has been around for many years in most European countries, including Germany, France, Italy and Hungary.

The real situation of makers in Poland

As emphasized by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the draft Act on Professional Artists is a response to a number of postulates submitted by the artistic community for years. Most artists are in a very difficult financial situation and live on an irregular income – often below the minimum wage. Due to the instability of employment and low wages, artists in Poland live outside the social security system. Many makers are unable to pay the pension premium, which means that they are not entitled to an old-age pension when they reach retirement age.

Reprographic rate

The reprographic allowance, which has been operating in Poland since 1994, is a flat-rate allowance provided to artists by manufacturers and importers of electronic equipment, which allows the so-called fair personal use, ie personal use of works such as music, film, image or text, thereby significantly increasing the demand for electronic devices. The fee is usually collected on devices such as computers, tablets, copiers, players or SmartTV, as well as on the so-called blank data carriers (disks, discs, flash drives, memory cards). In Poland, the list of devices has not been updated for several years and the fee still covers tape recorders and video recorders, as well as audio and VHS cassettes. The fee is not a tax, its revenues do not go to the state budget or local self-governments.

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