Russian legislator proposed to reduce copyright term for some IP objects in Russia

Russian deputy proposed new draft laws aiming to “confirm that the works of science, literature and art, created in soviet times on demand of state and at the cost of state, are in public domain”. The first draft law introduces amendment to article 1298 of Russian civil code and adding new item. This item states that works of science, literature or art, created in Soviet Union and published before 31 of December 1992 are in public domain.

The second draft law reduces the term of protection for intellectual property objects created in Soviet Union from 50 years to 25 years. Under soviet civil code the term was 25 years. The legislation introducing the law on copyright 1993 stated that 50 years term applies to “all cases where 50 years term has not expired by 1 of January 1993.

The deputy believes the 1993 law on copyright privatized all IP objects created in Soviet Union and which should be now in public domain. The current civil code provides the same provision – 50 years term. Under proposed law all IP objects created in Soviet Union, and if their 25 years term of protection would expire today, are in public domain.

The music and movie business communities did not like this initiative. These draft laws could negatively affect the major Russian state movie studios. They make good money on catalogues of movies made in soviet period. If these movies would become a public domain it means these studios lose their license contracts with users, because it would be not necessary to pay for their exploitation. With music created in soviet time it would be the same situation.