S. V. Korosteleva
Deputy Head of the Division on Copyright and neighboring rights
LAWS ON COPYRIGHT AND RELATED RIGHTS
AT THE MODERN STAGE
Copyrights play not less important role in society than patent rights. The State is called upon to maintain an "unstable equilibrium" between personal rights and interests of the society, between what is related to culture and what is related to commerce.
Features of creative professions require effective legislative regulations encouraging social and economic integration of authors in the society. Modern writers, artists stand in need of specific forms of promotion of their activities and protection of their interests, such system of social security and such norms of civil, labor, tax law that take into account their low and unsteady income, "vulnerability" of their positions as subjects of market relations.
I permit myself to ascertain that now Russia has basically created the legal basis for protecting intellectual property, in particular, the rights of authors and holders of related rights.
The basis for copyright and related rights protection and regulation in Russia is contained in the following standard acts.
- The Law on Copyrights and Related Rights
- The Constitution of the Russian Federation
- Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, January 1, 1997.
- Civil Procedural Code of the Russian Federation
- Civil Code of the Russian Federation
- Administrative Code of the Russian Federation
- The Law on Legal Deposit Copy of Document
- The Law on State Support of Mass Communication Media
- Law of the Russian Federation on the Legal Protection of Computer Programs and Data Bases
- Law of the Russian Federation on the Legal Protection of Topographies of Integrated Circuits
English versions of the most important of the abovementioned standard acts are available on our Web-site, that will provide you a possibility to learn about main provisions of the copyright law of Russian Federation.
We should take into account, that there is some kind of absence of systematization of full value, thus resulting in "complexity" of the acting legislation that contains complicated norms as to its structure, said norms providing for a whole set of exclusive rights, exceptions therefrom and, in certain cases, exceptions from exceptions. Often, the rights afforded do not have, and sometimes could no have the mechanism for legal implementation. The absence of systematic nature of regulation is a shortage that can not be compensated by increasing the number of statutory acts or complicating their contents. A further separated development of legislation threatens with the emergence of dangerous discrepancies and contradictions.
Many specialists believe that at present there is an objective need for codification of the legal regulation of relations in the field of intellectual property, consolidation of separated, isolated legal regimes into a united system based on common initial principles.
Authors Societies manage the rights of authors as a collective entity. In Russia, these entities are given a special legal status, which is defined in Chapter 4 of the Copyright and Subsidiary Rights Law. Their purpose is to issue licenses that permit the use of the copyright. They also collect royalties on behalf of authors in fields where it is difficult for an author to do it himself. Such fields include public performances, audio recordings, TV and radio productions, and theater work. Due to the complex nature of such organizations, these kinds of businesses (for example, radio stations) cannot contact all of the authors themselves to acquire all the necessary permissions. On the other hand, authors cannot constantly monitor all the places where their work is being used.
To become a member of the Authors Society, an author must sign a contract that entrusts the Society with monitoring the use of the author's work. The Society then is able to issue copyright permission that licenses use; it is also authorized to collect the author's royalties, to provide consultations, and to represent the author in court.
Nowadays there are several All-Russia societies involved in collective management of copyright and related rights, namely, RAO, ROUPI, ROMS, ROPAS, ROSP, NAAP.
The Russian Authors Society (RAO) is a voluntary nonprofit organization whose members are authors. Its highest governing body is the General Assembly of the members of the society, which elect the Authors Council and the Society's Board, which together manage the everyday business of the organization.
In the whole the situation goes in line with the acting RU Low "On copyright and related rights" which permits the establishment of "either organizations for different rights and various categories of copyright holders, or organizations managing different rights in the interests of various categories of copyright holders". Thus, the legislation provides certain restrictions in the establishment and the activity of organizations on collective management of copyright property and related rights. However, in practice said requirements are not compiled with. It gives birth to one of the problems in the field of collective management of copyright and related rights in Russia. A number of organizations introducing their statute of establishment the provisions on collective management are being created.
Practically every organization of such kind considers itself competent to represent all the copyright holders and to demand appropriate remuneration from the users. The legislative regulation to correct the situation exists but fails to work. The state fails to control and supervise the said situation in this field. So it gives rise to abuses and fraud, on the one hand and prevents organizations dealing with true collective management from working properly, on the other hand. As a result of it the rights of authors, performers and other holders come to be infringed. In fact, the monopolistic status of such organizations is the necessary condition for efficient work of given system of realization of copyright and neighboring rights. If such organization fails to work properly or abuses the rights that have been granted to it, the legal interests both of the right holders, and of the users come to be infringed.
So nowadays when the sphere of application of the system of collective management of copyright property is constantly being extended it is necessary to secure in the legislation the provisions, which entitle the state to perform the necessary control in respect of their activity. The Russian organizations on collective management are most of all interested in introducing secure state control for the relative activity in order to prevent all possible abuses and fraud.
The important task of the State is to ensure the international legal protection of copyright and related rights, thus one of major directions of development of Russian legislation in the field of copyright and related rights is harmonization with existing international agreements, in this field, including those in which Russia, at present, is not a party. It can be explained, first of all, by spreading and recess of international cooperation of this country with other States in such areas as science and culture, aiming to become a member of the WTO and actual international obligations as well.
The impact of international agreements can scarcely be exaggerated, since the international law regulations prevail over interstate regulations. In accordance with Article 15 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation generally recognized principles and regulations, international agreements of the Russian Federation are part of its legal system. In case where an international agreement of the Russian Federation provides for the rules other than those stipulated by the Russian Federation law, the rules of the international agreement shall apply.
There are two main conventions that regulate International law for multilateral copyright protection, and most of the civilized countries have joined those conventions. One is the Berne Convention (or the Berne Union) for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works that was adopted in 1886. And the other is the Universal Copyright Convention (or the Geneva Convention), which was first adopted in 1952.
The Russian Federation is a member of both conventions. In its capacity as a legal successor to the Soviet Union, Russia has been a signatory to the Geneva Convention since May 27, 1973 (the 1952 treaty) and the Berne Convention since March 9, 1995 (the 1971 treaty). Russia joined the Berne Convention on March 13, 1995.
Moreover, since March 13, 1995, Russia has been a member of the Convention for the Protection of the Interests of Soundtrack Producers; and since May 27, 1974, a member of the Convention for the Distribution Of Satellite Transmitted Program Signals.
It is important to mention that as early as July 14, 1967, the USSR joined the founding convention of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
Huge amount of work has been done by Russian agency on Patents and trademarks to join the Rome Convention and on the 26 of May 2003 Russian Federation became its member.
Russia is planning to enter the World Trade Organization (WTO). That means, that Russia will have extra obligations regarding copyright protection. Compliance with international standards will continue to be a critical factor in determining whether Russia will gain full WTO membership. Specifically, all WTO members are required to observe the Agreement on the Trade Related Aspects of the Intellectual Property protection (TRIPS), which requires member nations to reform their laws in accordance with international principles in the areas of copyrights, patents, trademarks, industrial design, and protection of commercial secrets.
The appropriate committees of the Russian State Duma are working on a draft of the new Copyright Law, which will take into account the WTO's requirements concerning the duration of copyright protection.