Exceptions and Limitations in Copyright Law

Copyright law is a regime for the promotion of creativity and is therefore of paramount importance for the development of culture, education and access to information. Copyright law could not perform this role effectively if it were not based on a strong system of exclusive rights that provide incentives or rewards to authors for their creativity.

Although exclusive rights are the cornerstone of all copyright systems, even the systems that advocate broad exclusive rights the strongest recognise the need to limit these rights in certain cases, and therefore, in addition to exclusive rights, also provide for limitations and/or exceptions to exclusive rights.

Traditionally, the relationship between exclusive rights and their limitations in copyright regimes has reflected a balance between conflicting interests: on the one hand, the interests of authors and rights holders to control and exploit works, and on the other hand, the interests of society in the free flow of information and the dissemination of knowledge (see also Guibault, Huegenholtz, 2003). The existence of restrictions is justified by several reasons, which aim at maintaining a limited balance. Trampuz notes:

“Copyright, as a constitutionally guaranteed human and absolute right, does not exist on its own, but in society with a range of other rights and interests. There are, above all, other constitutional rights, but also the interests of society as a whole, which make it impossible to always implement the copyright monopoly consistently.” (Trampuž, M., Oman, B., Zupančič, A., Copyright and Related Rights Act (ZASP) with commentary (1997).

The Slovenian legislator provides for limitations of exclusive rights in Articles 47 through 57 of the Copyright and Related Rights Act (ZASP).

Digital technologies have brought additional challenges to the delicate balance between exclusive rights and exceptions or limitations to those rights. Dr Maja Bogataj Jančič has already addressed these issues in her scientific publication Copyright in the Digital Age, which have been at the centre of her research work for many years.