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USA copyright office should help Russian cinemas to avoid payment of royalties for synch right

Russian collective management society this year has sued different cinemas for non-payment of royalties for synchronization right. According to current Russian law the Russian Authors Society has received state accreditation for collecting of royalties for synch right. State accreditation in collective management of rights means the holder of such accreditation can collect royalties in the name of right holders, who even did not provide authority to do it.

Some accredited collective management organisations call accreditation an “extended collective management”, but Russian accreditation covers worldwide repertoire, so the organisation can collect royalties in the name of anyone regardless of authority to do so and can provide any conditions for its own benefit even in beneficiaries’ prejudice. Besides the activity of accredited collecting societies in Russia are not subject to antimonopoly regulation. Some cinemas don’t want to pay royalties for synch right, therefore Russian authors’ society has sued cinemas not paying such royalties.

The cinemas lost their cases in first instances. After that cinemas have appealed. The appellations have been suspended few times. So the lawyers believe the cinemas have chances to win the cases. One of the cinemas’ lawyers believes he has something what could change the consideration of the case. So the courts will give assessment to the information from the library of USA congress in relation to right holders of music played in audiovisual works. This information “stated by the Russian authors’ society in its lawsuits”.

“There are positive expectations that the court of appeal will consider and handle the very important circumstances. We have provided the data, clearly stating that the copyright in absolutely all elements of movie belongs to relevant legal entities. But Russian authors’ society represents natural persons and therefore has no authority to require any royalties from cinemas. The cinemas pays all remuneration under the current Russian law through the distributor”, – state on of the cinemas’ lawyers.