Law 2121/1993 on Copyright, Related Rights and Cultural Matters (the Copyright Law) does not provide for a fair use or fair dealing defence.(1)

Nevertheless – and in compliance with the EU Information Society Directive (2001/29/EC) – the Copyright Law contains an exhaustive list of specific statutory exceptions and limitations on authors’ economic rights.

A copyrightable work can be legally used without prior authorisation or payment if said use is covered by a specific exception or limitation stipulated by the Copyright Law and all legal requirements provided thereunder are met.

Section IV of the Copyright Law sets out the following exceptions and limitations:

  • reproduction for private use (Article 18);
  • quotation of extracts (Article 20);
  • school textbooks and anthologies (Article 20);
  • reproduction for teaching purposes (Article 21);
  • reproduction by libraries and archives (Article 22);
  • reproduction of cinematographic works in order to preserve them in the National Film Archive (Article 23);
  • reproduction for judicial or administrative purposes (Article 24);
  • reproduction for information purposes (Article 25);
  • use of images of works sited in public places (Article 26);
  • public performances or presentations on special occasions (Article 27);
  • certain acts concerning orphan works (Article 27A);
  • exhibition and reproduction of visual art works (Article 28);
  • reproduction for the benefit of the blind, deaf or mute (Article 28A); and
  • an exception from reproduction rights being an essential part of a transmission in a network (Article 28B).

The above limitations apply only in certain cases and must always be interpreted in compliance with the three-step test provided in Article 28C of the Copyright Law (as set out in Article 9(2) of the Berne Convention).

Briefly, this test requires that the exceptions:

  • are strictly linked to a special purpose;
  • do not conflict with the normal exploitation of the work; and
  • do not unreasonably prejudice the right holder’s legitimate interests.(2)

For further information on this topic please contact Kriton Metaxopoulos or Irini Daroussou at A & K Metaxopoulos & Partners Law Firm by telephone (+30 210 725 7614) or email ( or The A & K Metaxopoulos & Partners Law Firm website can be accessed at


(1) This is the second article in a series on journalism and copyright in Greece. For the first article in the series, please see “Journalism and copyright: what is protected by copyright law?“.

(2) Supreme Court Decision 1328/2018.


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