Intellectual property ceases to be the lifetime property of its creator

    In 2008, there will be a small revolution in the field of copyright protection in Russia. One of the chapters of the Civil Code will come into effect, combining the laws that previously existed in this area. In addition, norms have appeared that will complicate the life of “pirates”, and the relationship between authors and customers of works will be made more clear. How the law will work in practice is not yet clear.

    The new fourth part of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation, with 400 pages, has been prepared for more than one year. The version of this document introduced to the State Duma in July 2006 was already the fourth development. The bill passed international examination and was studied by experts from Germany, Austria, Canada and the United States. In general, experts evaluate it positively. The document will streamline the legislation in the intellectual sphere and bring it into line with international standards.

    The need for the early adoption of this part of the Civil Code was largely due to Russia's desire to join the WTO. One of the conditions for this entry is the signing of the Agreement on Trade-related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), which, in turn, should not contradict the country's national legislation.

    Exclusion Strip

    The new part of the Civil Code has combined almost all currently existing laws that regulate traditional rights to intellectual property. This, for example, Patent Law, laws "On Copyright and Related Rights", "On Trademarks, Service Marks and Appellations of Origin" and others. However, some completely new norms appeared. Now the right to know-how (production secrets) and the company name, which until now did not have a single regulation, were taken under protection. The law describes the concept of the exclusive right of the author to the result of intellectual activity and the right of the publisher. There are innovations such as state accreditation of collective rights managers and protection of the exclusive rights of database manufacturers.

    The developers believe that the appearance of the 4th part of the code will make life easier for entrepreneurs and lawyers and will eliminate the contradictions that exist in different laws and regulations. However, many experts have doubts. At least, for a start, it will be necessary to change the judicial and administrative practices prevailing in the field of copyright. And this always leads to a disorganization of the judicial system and the adoption of opposing decisions in similar cases.

    Moreover, problems can arise not only in the event of conflicts, but also in everyday work. Mostly for the creators of various kinds of works. For example, the so-called copyright transfer has now become possible. That is, by concluding an appropriate contract, the author loses his rights in full and forever. Previously, the legislation did not allow such an approach: the documents needed to prescribe specific types of rights, terms, territory of use, and now all these requirements are saved only for “license agreements”. Of course, many authors may be willing to sell their rights, but people with a "name" are likely to require special conditions for themselves.

    The special legal regulation of the use of the results of intellectual property as part of a complex object (such as movies, television programs, collections of works) can also cause difficulties. The rights of the authors of such an object are severely limited. This was done mainly so that individuals with any legal actions could not paralyze the work of a large team. But there is a downside to this - it will be extremely difficult for one of the authors to prove their case in certain issues.

    Serious crime

    However, those who use copyrighted works have new difficulties. For example, earlier, by default, any published material could be used if there was no ban on the part of the copyright holder. Now you have to get written permission. And this is not easy. And so many contracts, according to lawyers, to conclude is simply unrealistic. As a result, not only the owners of information sites, but even ordinary people using the Internet can become violators.

    In general, almost any Internet resource can now get into a difficult situation. For example, it is not clear how the issue of the legal use of a multimedia product when creating a site will be resolved. If you follow the letter of the law, then every time you need to create everything from scratch. And almost no one does this. Or you need to get all written permissions from all copyright holders - authors of design and software, Internet technologies, colors. To copy already created means to infringe someone else's copyrights.

    Although in general the Internet will take a general approach: there are exclusive rights, and you can use the work only with the direct consent of the owners of such rights. Moreover, the Civil Code retains the provision of the current law "On Copyright", which states that the use of a work without the consent of the author is allowed, but "with the obligatory indication of the name of the author and source" and when quoting for a justifiable purpose. You can also use legally published works in various publications and programs. This will facilitate the work of many publications and other resources, but, on the other hand, such use of works can be interpreted differently in practice, and disputes will still arise. In addition, the law did not prescribe the activities of the so-called digital libraries. Their work has not been settled before.

    Experts also believe that the new part of the Civil Code will create problems in the field of domain names and their seizures may become more frequent. Indeed, when the law was passed, domain names were excluded from copyright. Buying domains corresponding to the names of well-known companies (this questionable way of earning money is called cybersquatting), and creating dummy sites for them has long been a very profitable business. If a cybersquatter, say, registers the domain of a foreign company, then it will either have to pay a solid ransom, or put up with the fact that, for example, a porn site may appear under its name. One can recall one of the most high-profile processes - the case. The site with this name belonged to the entrepreneur - the owner of a company working in the field of photo business. The lawsuit lasted several years. Now, finally, the Kodak domain.

    By the way, together with the draft Civil Code, the deputies approved the draft law “On Amending Articles 146 and 180 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation,” which provides for toughening of criminal liability for copyright infringement and distribution of counterfeit products. The maximum level of responsibility for this is proposed to be increased from 5 to 6 years in prison (plus a fine of 500 thousand rubles), which will transfer crimes in the field of intellectual activity from the category of medium gravity of the Criminal Code to serious ones. Moreover, it was suggested that the same punishment should be followed not only for copyright infringement, but also for the illegal use of a trademark, service mark and appellation of origin - that is, the distribution of counterfeit products. Now the maximum term for these crimes is 5 years,
    Author: Anna Petrova

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