The principle of copyright consists of obtaining the consent of the entitled subject (the author) for using the work to which he is authorised. This rule is connected with the necessity of paying a suitable fee by the persons exploiting the given work. The numerous exceptions from this principle (statute on copyright and affiliated rights of 4 February 1994, Dziennik Ustaw of 2006, no. 90, item 631 with later amendments) are to a great degree justified by the need to take into consideration also public interest, to which the legislator grants priority in relation to the private interests of the author. Such exceptions are defined by means of the general term of 'the permissible use' of works protected by copyright. The regulation of permissible use has perceived the specificity of museums, which in their capacity as special cultural institutions conduct socially useful cultural activity involving the dissemination and protection of culture. More specifically, the matter concerns art. 33 of the statue on copyright and affiliated rights, which makes direct reference to concrete museums. In accordance with point 2 of the above mentioned article it is permissible to disseminate works on show in publicly accessible collections such as museums, galleries. and exhibition showrooms, but only in catalogues and publications issued for the promotion of those works as well as in current events reports in the press and on television, albeit within limits justified by the provision of information. The presented article contains a practical commentary on art. 33 of the discussed statue. This is a regulation of essential importance for museums, which have at their disposal collections including works still protected by financial copyright. In practice, it pertains to museum exhibits which possess the status of works of art and comprise the categories of visual art works, e. g. in the domain of sculpture or painting.
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