Barabashev & partners

Russia to unconditionally accede to the Berne Convention

Date: 25-01-2013
During the negotiations regarding accession of the Russian Federation to the World Trade Organization, Russia took an obligation to cancel the reservation made by it when it was acceding to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works of September 9, 1886. The respective order was issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation on December 11, 2012.

The cancellation is but only one of the conditions that Russia shall fulfill when it joins WTO. It will be recalled that, according to the reservation, the Convention "shall not extend to the works which, at the date of entry into force of the said Convention in respect of the Russian Federation, are already in the public domain in its territory." The reservation was made primarily due to the provisions of Article 7 of the Convention stating that the works made available to the public may be used freely without paying any royalties.

The Berne Convention is a fundamental international treaty which governs the relations connected with the protection of copyright and associated rights. It is obvious that WTO considered unacceptable the policy under which the works which are in the public domain of Russia are restricted from being made available to the international community. Thus, one may say that for the first time since Russia joined the Berne Convention in 1994 it has accepted its provisions unconditionally, although not willfully but under pressure of WTO.
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