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“Penkov, Markov & Partners” Attorneys at Law organizes round table “The Future of Copyright”

April 2012

Guided by the desire that leading experts in the field of copyright exchange opinions in relation with the significant new challenges copyright faces as a result of the rapid development of the information society and, most of all, the spread of the Internet, Penkov, Markov & Partners - Attorneys at Law, together with Dr. Jur. Georgi Sarakinov organised a round table with the subject “The Future of Copyright”.

The main objective of the even, which took place on March 28th 2012, was to contribute, enrich and clarify the basis upon which necessary measures may be assessed.

The round table was opened by Vladimir Penkov, Managing Partner of Penkov, Markov & Partners - Attorneys at Law and Dr. Jur. Sarakinov.

About 20 experts were present, among which Georgi Damyanov - Director of the "Copyright and Neighbouring Rights" Directorate at the Ministry of Culture, Mariana Lazarova - Executive Director of "Copy BG" Association, Radomir Cholakov - Chief Legal Advisor of "Bulgaria" newspaper group, Assoc. Prof. Violeta Tsakova from the University of National and World Economy, Assoc. Prof. Emil Markov from the Law Faculty of the Sofia University, Velizar Sokolov - Manager of "Arsis Consulting", the composers Yasen Kozev and Alexander Yosifov, and others.

In the course of the discussion different opinions were expressed, ranging from the statement that the existing model of copyright protection, established in the 19th century and based entirely on book printing and sound recording, has exhausted its potential and a new model is necessary, which takes into account the current digital world, to the concept that the principles have actually not changed at all and continue to be generally applicable in the existing conditions.

As a result of the discussion the conclusion was reached that no one questions the need for existence of copyright protection in the digital world as well, but that it should be adapted to the new conditions in order to be effectively implemented.

In addition, some participants argued that reconciliation of the interests and the equal protection of rights of all stakeholders should be strived for, however without one measure or another curbing or becoming an obstacle to the dissemination of knowledge in the world, nor prejudicing civil rights inherent to a democratic society.

It was pointed out that some obvious faults of the current legal framework need to be cleared, as they make it rather difficult to apply protection even in conventional conditions. This should also be combined with actions for increasing the qualification of civil judges and their training as a whole, which is a prerequisite for significant improvement of copyright protection in the future. In this way the positive attitude of the public to the fairness of the cause for copyright protection, which deteriorated during the recent years, including as a result of the slow response of the international community and the absence of a single solution internationally would be restored.

The participants agreed that no separate legislation dedicated solely to the Internet is required, but rather a codification of all the relevant legislation, which would include the question of the Internet.

Mutual agreement found also the idea of creating the necessary clarity in regulations, as their correspondence with new conditions would greatly facilitate the judicial system, which needs to ensure proper and correct application of the law.

The participants assessed the round table as extremely useful and expressed their belief in the need for future round tables, at which to discuss specific issues and propose concrete solutions to these issues. The latter can support the preparation of the correct position of the government and the legislature and would thus also support the development of copyright as a whole.


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