International Copyright Relations of Russia - Russian Federation

Russian Federation

When the Soviet Union was dissolved, Russia as the largest successor state adopted all international obligations of the former USSR, including its membership to the UCC. Consequently, Russia was henceforth considered a member of the UCC (in the 1952 Geneva text) since the date of the adherence of the USSR to that treaty, i.e., since May 27, 1973. The membership of the USSR in the Brussels Convention was equally continued by the Russian Federation as from December 25, 1991.

On June 25, 1993, Russia and Armenia signed a treaty on the mutual protection of copyrights. To clarify the copyright situation amongst the states that had made up the former Soviet Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) nations agreed on a cooperation agreement in the field of copyrights on September 24, 1993. This "Moscow agreement" declared that all signatory countries considered themselves bound by the UCC as of the date the USSR had joined and would confirm this state with the UNESCO, which administered the UCC. The treaty also defined that the treaty states would apply the UCC amongst themselves, also for works published before May 27, 1973 if those works had been copyrighted before this date according to the national laws of the successor states. This provision was subject to the rule of the shorter term. The intent of the Moscow agreement was to avoid that older Soviet works became copyrighted in only some of the successor states, but would become part of the public domain in some of the others. The 1993 Moscow agreement entered in force in Russia on May 6, 1995.

During the same year, Russia and Switzerland concluded a trade agreement in which they granted each other most-favoured-nation status concerning intellectual property rights, i.e., they agreed to grant the other treaty partner automatically and without conditions any trade advantage they'd grant a third country. This treaty entered in force on July 1, 1995. In a comprehensive trade treaty with the European Union that was signed on June 24, 1994, Russia granted this most-favoured-nation status also to the EU member countries, excepting only trade advantages granted amongst the successor states of the USSR and also those Russia would grant a third country on an effective reciprocal basis. Because the ratification of this treaty was delayed as it had to be ratified by all EU members, an interim agreement containing only the provisions on intellectual property and the most-favoured-nation status was signed on July 17, 1995. It entered in force on February 1, 1996.

On November 3, 1994, the Russian government announced that the country would join three international treaties in the field of copyrights: the 1971 Paris version of the UCC including its annexes, the Geneva Phonograms Convention on unauthorized duplication and parallel import of phonograms, and the Berne Convention. The accession documents to all three treaties were deposited on December 9, 1994. The UCC (Paris 1971 version) became effective for Russia on March 9, 1995. The Geneva Convention entered in force with respect to Russia on March 13, 1995 and was not retroactive: it covered only phonograms recorded after that date.

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