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Wednesday 3 February 2010

José Carlos Vaz e Dias

Legal Deposit of Musical Works Becomes Mandatory in Brazil

Legal deposit of musical works at the National Library has become mandatory in Brazil since law week through the publication of the Federal Law number 12,192 of 14 January 2010.

From now on, Editors, Phonogram Producers and video producers are obliged to deposit at the Brazilian National Library, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, 2 (two) copies of each piece of music edited or published by them within 30 (thirty) days from publication of the work. Also, they should officially inform the aforementioned institution all performances of the musical work published and released in the market.

Law 12,192/2010 and the obligation to deposit musical works in a government institution caught the surprise of many Brazilians not used to copyright law and still shocked by the recent press and communication control wave that hits some Latin American countries, such as in Venezuela.

In fact, the mandatory deposit of musical works has nothing to do with the control of the press, as it intends to secure registration, storage and dissemination of Brazilian music production so as to preserve national memory recording and folklore. The legal deposit of intellectual works (literary but not musical) is a statutory requirement of diverse laws, such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Brazil too (Law 10,994 of December 14, 2004).

According to Law 12,192/2010, the failure to comply with the requirements of the legal deposit will result in the imposition of a fine, which may correspond to 100 (one hundred) times the value of the work in the market, without prejudice to the confiscation of copies sufficient to comply with the law.

Further to that, the Law implies that solely musical works in Portuguese language and divulged in the Brazilian market should be affected by the legal deposit requirement.

According to Daniel Pitanga, a partner and copyright specialist of the law firm Di Blasi, Parente, Vaz e Dias Advogados & Associados, “mandatory deposit is not new in Brazil. Like in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Portugal, a Federal Law back in 2004 (Law 10,994/2004) provided the legal deposit of publications (literary works) in the Brazilian National Library to ensure the registration and custody of the Brazilian intellectual production thereby preserving culture and national language. However, the novelty rests on the National Library’s competence to manage the deposit and storage of phonograms and video media.”

That’s a good question, as the National Library is an institution focused on registering paper works, not phonograms and videos. The government agency to register musical works for copyright purposes is the National School of Music. In the case of artistic works, one may register them at the National Schools of Arts.

In view of that, the Brazilian National Library will have to adapt its internal structure for this new function in order to receive and conserve the new media.

Finally, it is important to advice that the mandatory deposit cannot get mixed up with the registration provided in the Copyright Law for the purpose to identify prior creation and record copyright assignments.

José Carlos Vaz e Dias

José Carlos Vaz e Dias