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The Hungarian Parliament accepted a regulation to settle the orphan works dilemma in 2008. Under this system the Hungarian Intellectual Property Office grants a license to applicants to use orphan works under limited circumstances. Since the entry into force of the amendment of the Hungarian Copyright Law in 2009 the system had modest success. Due to the acceptance of the Orphan Works Directive in 2012, however, it became necessary to amend the Hungarian Copyright Act to introduce the new limitation granted by the directive for beneficiary institutions. The future Hungarian regime will therefore include both systems: the licensing model (for the benefit of every user), and the limitation model (for the benefit of specific institutions). This paper introduces the main points of the former (old) regime, and also includes comments and criticism of the experiences of the past five years. Further the paper summarizes the key elements of the implementation of the directive and highlights its prospective positive effects and the drawbacks of the legislation (both the statute and the government decree) as well.

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  1. Act CXII of 2008 amending Act LXXVI of 1999 on Copyright Law (hereinafter HCA). The new regulation – included into Arts. 57/A-D – came into force on 1 February 2009. It might be worth noting that the legal predecessor of the largest Hungarian collective rights management association (Artisjus), called “Szerzői Jogvédő Hivatal” (“Copyright Office”), had the right in the 1950s to license any further use of published copyrighted works where the descendants of the author were unknown despite carrying out a diligent search. See Palágyi (1959). Sadly no statistics are available on the operation of this scheme.

  2. HCA Art. 57/A para. 1.

  3. Decree 100/2009. (V.8.) of the Government on the detailed rules related to the licensing of certain use of orphan works, Art. 3 para. 1., points (a)–(c). (Hereinafter Government Decree 2009.) The Hungarian Parliament authorized the Government to create the above decree by HCA Art. 57/B para. 4. The decree might be accessible in English language via See further Ficsor, supra note 1, at 14–15.

  4. Government Decree 2009 Art. 2 para. 2.

  5. HCA Art. 57/A para. 2. See further Ficsor, supra note 1, at 16–17.

  6. HCA Art. 57/A para. 6.

  7. On these amounts see Government Decree 2009 Art. 4 paras. (2)–(4).

  8. An application might include several requests, in case all of these relate to the identical use of works of the same subject matter of the same author. See Government Decree 2009, Art. 2 para. 5. In this case the applicant shall pay a one-time administrative service fee, irrespectively of the number of works covered by the application.

  9. Government Decree 2009 Art. 4 para. (6).

  10. HCA Art. 57/A para. 5 sentence 1. This means that the rightholder has maximum 10 years to reappear and request the payment of the remuneration.

  11. This procedure costs HUF 10,500 (approximately € 35). See Government Decree 2009 Art. 4 para. (5).

  12. HCA Art. 57/A para. 3.

  13. HCA Arts. 42–57.

  14. HCA Art. 57/A para. 5 sentences 2 and 4.

  15. HCA Art. 57/A para. 7.

  16. HCA Art. 19.

  17. HCA Arts. 20–21.

  18. HCA Art. 23 para. 6.

  19. HCA Art. 23 para. 3.

  20. HCA Art. 23/A.

  21. HCA Art. 25 paras. 1 and 3.

  22. HCA Art. 26 paras. 6 and 7; Art. 27 paras. 1 and 2.

  23. HCA Art. 26 para. 8.

  24. HCA Art. 66 para. 3.

  25. HCA Art. 70.

  26. On the content of the extended collective licensing in Hungarian law see HCA Art. 87 para 1. On the definition of extended collective licensing and on its roots in the Scandinavian copyright system see Karnell (1985), Riis and Schovsbo (2010), Strowel (2011).

  27. Ficsor, supra note 1, at 25.

  28. Ficsor, supra note 1, at 12.

  29. The application shall include: (1) the information suitable to identify the work and if possible the rightholder(s); (2) the mode, the extent, the planned duration of the use and any other circumstances which are necessary to determine the amount of remuneration; (3) whether the purpose of use is to gain or increase revenue; (4) all the proofs, which certify that the applicant has conducted a reasonable search to identify/locate the rightholder and that the search was unsuccessful; (5) if the work is co-authored and not all of the rightholders are unknown or reside in an unknown place the use contract concluded with the known rightholders; (6) further, the applicant shall pay the necessary administrative service fee. See Government Decree 2009, Art. 2 paras. 1–3 and Art. 4.

  30. Ficsor, supra note 1, at 21.

  31. One might argue that the number of licenses is similarly low under the Japanese (introduced in 1970) or Canadian (created in 1985) orphan works regime. In Japan only 46 permissions were granted until the end of October 2010. See Bently et al. (2010). The Copyright Board of Canada issued 277 licenses until the end of 2013 (and refused only eight). See Decisions/Licenses Issued to the Following Applicants ( Only time will tell, whether the Hungarian statistics (an average of less than eight licenses per annum) shall be deemed as remote, average or outstanding.

  32. It might be noted that the John Neumann Digital Library was originally willing to apply for approximately 370 licenses. See Ficsor, supra note 1, at 21.

  33. The list of granted licenses might be available in Hungarian language via

  34. Directive 2012/28/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 on certain permitted uses of orphan works, Official Journal of the European Union, 27.10.2012, L299/5-12 (

  35. Act CLIX of 2013, Art. 16. See 2013(172) Magyar Közlöny 73969-73972 ( (only in Hungarian). The statute amended several other IP related statutes as well, and similarly amended other articles of the HCA.

  36. Orphan Works Directive, Art. 2 para 1.

  37. HCA Art. 41/A para. 1. See further Ficsor, supra note 1, at 12.

  38. Decree 138/2014. (IV. 30.) of the Government on the detailed rules related to the use of orphan works, Art. 2. (Hereinafter Government Decree 2014.) See: 2014(61) Magyar Közlöny 8815-8820 ( This list generally corresponds with the content of the Annex of the Orphan Works Directive.

  39. HCA Art. 41/A paras. 3–4.

  40. HCA Art. 41/A para. 5.

  41. HCA Art. 41/A para. 8. Interestingly the Government Decree 2014 – contrary to the previous decree and the original draft of the new decree – does not include any provision on the costs of this procedure. Compare to Government Decree 2009, Art. 4 para. 5 and Government Decree 2014, Art. 7. The draft of the decree might be available via

  42. HCA Art. 41/A para. 9.

  43. Compare to recitals (4) and (20) of the Orphan Works Directive. On the analysis of the relationship of the directive and the Hungarian national regime see Grad-Gyenge, supra note 1, at 34–36.

  44. Government Decree 2014, Arts. 3–8.

  45. Government Decree 2014, Art. 4 para. 2.

  46. Government Decree 2014, Art. 4 para. 3.

  47. Orphan Works Directive, Recitals (1)–(3).

  48. HCA Art. 41/F para. 1.

  49. HCA Art. 41/G para. 1. All this information shall be expeditiously forwarded by the HIPO to the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM). The submission of the above information is the prerequisite of the commencement of the use. See HCA Art. 41/G paras. 2–3. The platform for such a submission and forwarding of information will be set up by OHIM. See Government Decree 2014, Art. 9 paras. 1–2.

  50. Literary, cinematographic and audiovisual works, phonograms, further cinematographic or audiovisual works and phonograms produced by public-service broadcasting organisations, finally any other subject matter incorporated or embedded into any of the above. See HCA Art. 41/F para. 2. points (a)–(d) and para. 4.

  51. HCA Art. 41/H para. 1.

  52. HCA Art. 41/I para. 1; Government Decree 2014, Art. 10 para. 2.

  53. Rightholders might put an end to the orphan status on the platform designed for that purpose by the OHIM, or through noticing the beneficiary institution in writing. See Government Decree 2014, Art. 10 para. 1.

  54. Government Decree 2014, Art. 11 para. 1.

  55. HCA Art. 41/I para. 2; Government Decree 2014, Art. 11 para. 2.

  56. Government Decree 2014, Annex I. It might be important to note that the draft of the decree envisaged partially different amounts of remuneration. For fictional and scientific literature HUF 5,000/printed sheet, for poems HUF 10/line, for compilations HUF 1,000/printed sheet was planned. The draft did not mention, however, the remuneration for any other subject matter incorporated or embedded into any of the benefited subject matter.

  57. Government Decree 2014, Art. 11 para 1.

  58. Grad-Gyenge used the “state (limited compulsory) licensing” expression for the “old” orphan works regime. [In Hungarian “állami (korlátos kényszer-) engedélyezés”.] See Grad-Gyenge, supra note 1, at 32.

  59. On the distinction between exceptions and limitations see von Lewinski (2008).

  60. Mezei, supra note 1, at 479.

  61. HCA Art. 35 para. 4. This paragraph was inserted in accordance with Art. 5(2)(c) of the Information Society Directive.

  62. The Digitized Repository of Legislature project (“Digitalizált Törvényhozási Tudástár”) is funded by the “Electronic Administration Operative Program” (No. EKOP-2.1.5-09-2009-0001). The program was co-funded by the European Union and the European Regional Development Fund. The Digitized Repository of Legislature is available at

  63. On the CONTENTA project see (only in Hungarian). The website is available at The project was funded by the “Social Renewal Operative Program” (No. TÁMOP-4.2.1/B-09/1/KONV-2010-0005). This program is supported by the European Commission and is co-funded by the European Social Fund.

  64. On the ELDORADO (“Elektronikus Dokumentumküldés Országos Rendszere, Adatbázisa, és Dokumentumtárának Megvalósítása az Országos Széchényi Könyvtárban”) project see Dancs (2013). The project was funded by the “Social Renewal Operative Program” (No. TÁMOP 3.2.4-B-11/1).


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Mezei, P. The New Orphan Works Regulation of Hungary. IIC 45, 940–952 (2014).

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