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Russian IP court: there is no copyright infringement without IP object

The Russian accredited collecting society (CMO) collecting royalties for copyright in musical works has sued Russian cinema holding, seeking royalties for synchronization right. RAO has proposed cinema holding to conclude agreement for synch right, but the cinema has refused. Therefore RAO has filed suit. In the suit CMO has placed the list of audiovisual works and one author to each relevant AV work.

The court of first instance has paid a lot of attention to the matters of information: where the information on authors came from, how the RAO has calculated the royalties, it seeks in court etc. The defendant believed there was not any ground to conclude agreement with CMO because defendant has concluded agreement with AV right holders and therefore the music in this AV works are already cleared by such agreements.

The court of first instance has sided with CMO. Defendant appealed. The appellation almost entirely has cited the lower court’s decision and sided with claimant (CMO). There is one little interesting thing. The appellate court in its decision has equated AV works with musical works.

So, the cinema holding goes higher and files cassation complaint to the Russian IP court and this court decides very interestingly. In its cassation complaint the cinema states that RAO did not list in its complaint all musical works with all relevant authors. The cinema asked IP court to repeal the decisions of lower courts and deny CMO complaint or to refer the case to the first instance for reconsideration.

First of all the IP court stated that the RAO must identify and list all authors of music works the AV works includes thereof. In other words if CMO defends copyright in certain IP object it must identify this object and holders of rights therein.

RAO has listed only AV titles and one author to each relevant AV title. But there could be more than one musical work in each listed AV work and more than one author of musical work not mentioned in RAO’s claim. RAO should list all musical works performed in AV and all authors of such musical works.

Russian IP court explained its position – it is necessary to mentioned all works and authors in complaint in order to properly calculate royalties sought for synch right. IP court also stated that the court (first or second instance) must list all musical works with all relevant authors, because “decision is to be adopted for the benefit of individual right holders”.

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