Sanction as per art. 172A from The Criminal Code

The provision in Art 54 from the Constitution of Republic Bulgaria proclaims and guarantees the liberty of the artistic, scientific and technical creative work. The voting, copy and related to it rights are protected by the law on different levels. The positive regulation of the relations connected with the copy and related to it rights is to be found in The Law on Copy Rights and the similar to its rights. The copy rights belong to the category of the absolute subjective rights parties in the copy legal relations being the carrier of the copy right on one side and all the rest legal subjects on the other side that are obliged to keep from actions that can infringe upon the right of the carrier of the copy rights. The subjective copy right as a recognized and guaranteed by the law possibility its carrier to use in defined limits a creative work of science, literature and art comes into being from the moment of the outside projecting of the respective creative work in a way permitting its unlimited assumption by an unlimited circle of people; from this moment arises the copy legal relationship and the possibility for its legal defense.

According to art.9 from the Criminal Code of The Republic of Bulgaria crime is this socially dangerous deed (action or inaction) that has been guiltily performed and has been declared a misdemeanor by the law. A basic principle in the Criminal Code is the principle of legitimacy – only deeds explicitly declared by the law as crime could be s ground for bringing to justice and setting of sanctions to their perpetrators. The criminalizing and respectively the decriminalizing of certain deeds is an indicator for the level of development of a given society to concrete moment and is in direct connection with the social value of the defended relations-subject to the crime. The intellectual piracy and the need of effective fight against it plays the role of a basic motive for the legislator for the advent of the provisions of art. 172a of the Criminal Code.

Object to the crime as per art.172a of the Criminal Code (CC) are the public relations that are connected with the securing of the normal exercising of the copy and related to it rights. Primary settling in this sphere is given in the Law on Copy Rights (LCR).

Subject to the crimes as per art.172a of the CC are the foreign creative work of science, literature and art ( item 1) or audio-and video- recordings, radio programmes, TV programmes, software and computer programmes ( i.2). The creative work as from the previous sentence should be used without the necessary according the law consent of the carrier of the respective right and in the blanket provision alludes to the lack of consent in the sense of the LCR.

The execution deed presents an illegal recording, reproducing, distribution, emission, transferring through technical means by whatever way of somebody else’s creative work, the right on which are object of defense in the sense of the LCR. The execution deed, in all its forms, provides execution of acts of economical character. The necessary prerequisites for the realization of the crime content is the creative work to belong to somebody else (other person’s property) and the lack of consent from the carrier of the related to the copy right (for crimes under item 2). Such consent is not necessary in the case of expiring of the term for defense of the respective creative work as per the provisions of art.34 of the LCR.

From a subject point of view the crime should be performed with aforethought, the perpetrator to be aware that he uses a creative work that is somebody else’s property without the necessary according to the law consent of its author.

In order for the crime to be a misdemeanor it should be performed by a person that is responsible for a criminal offence (a person that has completed 14 years of age and that could understand the nature and the significance of his deeds and could manage his actions.).

According to art. 35 of CC the amenability is personal it is bearable only for a crime provided for by the law and the penalty should be correspondent to the performed crime. The rules for individualization of the punishment are provided for in art.54 of the CC and their observation is an absolute prerequisite and guarantee for the infliction of a fare and deserved punishment as well achievement of the purposes under art.36 of the CC.

The provided for sanction for crime under item 1 of art. 172a of the CC is imprisoning for a period of up to 3 years and penalty from 1000 levs to 3000 levs. The cumulative sanction is provided for in cases of extremely socially dangerous crimes. The assignment of the minimal punishment – penalty is also an indicator for the circumstance that the legislator estimates the crimes against the intellectual property as extremely socially dangerous deeds. The sanction for crimes under item 2 of the CC is identical.

A qualified case of the crimes under items 1 and 2 has been envisaged – at second performance (cases under art. 28 of CC when the perpetrator has performed a crime after he has been sentenced and the sentence has come into force for another such crime – the perpetrator appears as a person inclined to offend social relations of similar type which itself increases the social danger of the perpetrator and the deed as well as far as despite the impact on the perpetrator with the means and methods of the punitive duress the same has not reformed.

An individual basis for the application of the qualified case is the causing of significant harmful consequences (the circumstance that has to be evaluated for each individual case taking into account the degree of offence of the social relations that are a direct object to the crime). The minimal period of time for imprisoning – from 1 year to 3 years have been fixed in the qualified cases while the penalty has been increased from 3000 to 5000 levs.

In cases of small importance the perpetrator is punished administratively- as per the provisions in the LCR and in accordance with the order provided for in the Law of Administrative Infringement and Punishment (LAIP) and the Law of Administrative proceeding (LAP). According to art.93, point 7 of the CC a case of small importance is this case where the crime performed in view of the lack of or the insignificance of the harmful consequences or in view of other extenuating circumstances presents a lower degree of social danger compared to the casual cases of the crimes of the same kind.

Therefore, a concrete evaluation is needed for each individual case regarding the presence or lack of harmful consequences from the performed crime, whether this consequences are significant or not, before moving further to imposing of the sanctions in conformity with the CC, due to the lower degree of social danger of the cases with small importance under art.172a from CC.

It is envisaged in art 172a, item 5 of CC the object of the crime to go to the state when it is a property of the guilty person; the means serving thew crime will also go to the state if they belong to the guilty person thus the possibility to benefit from his own defending of the law and performing a new crime. In view of the pursued purposes under art.172, item 5 the provision should be applied with cases of small importance as well under art.172a of the CC.

The amenability of the crime performers under art.172a of the CC shall be realized completely if the provided for by the law prescription has not expired, when there is lack of amnesty, pardon or rehabilitation.

Related to the realization of the amenability are also the issues connected with using as original methods of criminal-legal impact the exemption of the imposed punishment as well as exemption from amenability in general where instead of punishment educational or administrative measures are being taken.

The complex sanction in the sphere of the criminal use of somebody else’s intellectual property should be in conformity with the peculiarities of the individual crime deed. The punishment fixed by the court under art.172a of the CC should in every individual case be in conformity exactly with the performed deed as well as to the peculiarities of the perpetrator, the significance of the complex sanction as a whole should be in conformity with the concrete crime and its subject guaranteeing the realization of the purposes provided for in art.36 of the CC.