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Law on Public Information and Media
The Law on Electronic Media regulates, in accordance with international conventions and standards, the organisation and work of the regulatory body for electronic media. It also regulates conditions and means for the provision of audio and audiovisual media services, conditions and procedure for issuing permits for broadcasting audio and audio-visual media services, as well as other issues significant for the field of electronic media.
Legal solutions also include the freedom to disseminate information via the internet and other platforms, and the freedom to publish media and perform business activities with the provision of public information. Therefore, such legal solutions cover all individual aspects of the freedom to access public information, such as the freedom to create and distribute media contents, securing conditions for free publication of public media outlets, etc.
The number of registered online media outlets in Serbia is constantly increasing. This might also be
caused by the new laws as their provisions do not impose the obligation for the online media outlet to register, but entry in the register is posed as the precondition, among other things, for project co-financing from public sources.
Further transformation of the media scene is directed towards the protection of freedom of expression and the right to information. It is also aimed at securing the display of diversity in political, economic, social and cultural standpoints and interests, and is necessary in order to comply with the international regulations
Suitable intellectual property protection does not only include the regulations, but also their fast, efficient and quality implementation.
In Serbia, there is a series of laws that apply to intellectual property protection. Law on Trademarks regulates the field of protection of trademarks which serve for differentiation of goods and services in commercial activities, and this regulation is of significance for business activities of companies operating in the national and foreign market, because it stipulates the right to acquire, use and protect trademarks and
The Law on Copy-Rights and Associated Rights also regulates mandatory collective exercising of these rights and court protection against violation of copyrights and associated rights. The Law on Legal Protection of Industrial Design guarantees the owners exclusive rights to use design, as well as the right to prevent their unauthorised copying. It also protects aesthetic features of the product and regulates the conditions and the manner for acquiring protection of industrial design, as well as defines violation of rights and judicial protection, as with other laws.
Currently, a set of new laws in this filed is being prepared in Serbia which will lead to full harmonisation of Serbian legislation with the EU Acquis. The results of particular importance will be those that apply to the adoption and application of new rules on intellectual property protection, with an emphasis on progress in control of software legality, as well as specialisation of investigative bodies and courts for the purpose of more efficient protection.
Adoption of the new Law on Patents, Law on Trademarks, as well as the Law on Protection of Circuits Topography is expected, and the new Law on Copy-Rights and Associated Rights will improve the position of certain categories of authors, and define forms of use of copyrighted works on the internet.
Personal Data Protection
General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) defines the rules that apply to the protection of personal data of individuals, their processing. The GDPR also defines rules that apply to the free flow of data.
Despite not being a member of the EU, GDPR will have an impact on the Serbia. Namely, any party processing personal data of other individuals will have to comply with the provisions of the GDPR, as it will apply not only to the companies seated in the EU, or their branch offices in the EU, but also to those with a seat outside of the EU. The GDPR will also impact those who offer goods or services within EU. This actually means if a company from Serbia does business on the internet or processes personal data of EU citizens for business purposes, this company will have to comply its business activities with the GDPR.
According to the current Law on Personal Data Protection, all companies processing personal data that have collections of personal data are under obligation to register those collections with the Commissioner. Along with the collections of the data on the employees, all other data collections are registered as follows: about the clients, business partners, job candidates and others depending on the purpose for which they are collected, i.e. processed.
Export of personal data means the transfer of personal data from Serbia to another country. In cases where the company exports personal data to a country that is not signatory of the Convention on Data Protection of the Council of Europe, according to the current Law on personal data protection, the Commissioner must approve such export. The issue of data protection is particularly significant for multinational companies with their servers located in countries that are not signatories of the Convention of the Council of Europe.
For a long period of time, Serbia has been expecting a new law on data protection that would include principles and provisions that are in accordance with the GDPR, and in order to harmonise this filed with the EU standards. Harmonisation with the EU Directive will probably be challenging for many organisations and companies in Serbia.
To achieve full harmonisation, it is important to make a comprehensive list of types of data, as well as other information that refers to legal basis, time, purpose for collection of data and whether those data, i.e. data collections, have already been registered with the Commissioner for Personal Data Protection (Commissioner). It is also necessary to evaluate whether or not existing organisational, processing, technical and administrative safety measures are sufficient in regards to the scope and processing of data.
On the other hand, both the EU and Serbia have been experiencing increasing personal data processing, given the importance of data and its abuse. Consequently, companies around the world have been facing increased rates of cyber crime.
Penalties for failure to comply with new GDPR rules are pecuniary and their amounts are high. In cases where a smaller company processes and/ or transfers the data contrary to the existing rules, and does not have the coverage in form of insurance from professional liability for errors and omissions for the IT industry, its existence may be threatened. In Serbia, there is a small, almost insignificant number of companies that recognise the importance of introducing insurance policies to cover IT risks.
Law on Information Safety
In 2016, the Law on Information Safety was adopted in Serbia and it regulates measures of protection from safety risks in information communication systems, i.e. responsibility of legal entities and competent bodies. Responsibilities of legal entities, bodies competent for the implementation of measures, coordination and monitoring the correct application of this law are especially important.
According to the law, the obligations primarily refer to the adoption of the act on safety of information and communication systems, undertaking of adequate measures to secure prevention against incidents, as well as prevention and minimising of damages, reporting to competent state body on the incidents in information and communication systems and similar.
In that respect, it is interesting that during the past several decades, the market of IT in Serbia has been experiencing constant growth. Namely, Serbia has become one of the most attractive destinations for allocation of business relating to IT in East Europe. Major global companies have directly established their developmental centers of Serbia and some have chosen to delegate work to local IT companies.
Law on Electronic Document, Electronic Identification and Trust Services in Electronic Transactions (E-Business Law)
In 2017, the new Law on Electronic Document, Electronic Identification and Trust Services in Electronic Transactions was adopted in Serbia. This law goes one step further in legal regulation of electronic transactions, particularly those considered significant for the practice and functioning of electronic transactions in reality. IT and forms of business activities are changing rapidly, thus, legal solutions should be flexible and encourage new technological achievements, with the backing of solutions contained in international documents, regulations and standards of the EU.
This law should enable the decrease of excessive paperwork that used to be mandatory in communication and business activities between citizens, state bodies and companies in Serbia. On the other hand, the transfer to electronic identification and use of electronic documents and delivery will also enable faster business communication and modernisation of the entire country.
Ljiljana Urzikic Stankovic is an independent attorney at law qualified in Serbia, working in cooperation with NSTLAW. She is a data protection and intellectual property law expert with a focus on all matters related to the processing of personal data and protection of IP rights, including trademarks, design rights and patents, as well as handling cyber-crime and anti-piracy issues. Her broader commercial expertise also takes in labour and employment law, and banking and finance with a particular emphasis on project finance and securitisation. Over recent years Ljiljana has successfully worked with a number of clients setting up operations in Serbia, including advising on the implementation of global privacy and security programmes, audit and risk assessments and international data transfer strategies, as well as negotiating cloud storage arrangements and other complex international data transfer agreements. She also handles major data protection projects for globally significant clients, providing assistance in relation to data collection and management, setting up and maintaining employee databases and regulatory advice on the international aspects of data management. Ljiljana has impressive experience of acting in cooperation with law and policy makers in Serbia, including the Ministry of Justice, the Central Register of Securities, the Privatisation Agency and the Business Registers Agency (including Register of Pledges), as well as the World Bank.
Shifts in the Media, Public Information, Intellectual Property, Data Protection and other Related Regulation in Serbia
Stankovic& Partners Law Firm
In Serbia, privatisation of the media started in 2014 with the adoption of a set of media laws. One of the most significant goals of the new law in this field was privatisation of the media which was achieved through the transfer of shares to employed journalists. The Law on Public Information and Media regulates the right to public information, and particularly collection, disclosing and receipt of information. It also governs freedom to establish and express opinions, print and distribute newspapers and freedom of production, provision and broadcasting of audiovisual media services.
Ljiljana Urzikic Stankovic