Copyright issues in Russia and Europe: international discussion at IPQuorum 2019

The session entitled “Approaches to expanding access to information, knowledge, works of science, literature and art and objects of related rights taking into account compliance with the intellectual rights of rightholders” took place on the first day of the International Strategic Forum IPQuorum 2019. The problems of current legislation on copyright by the example of the relevant laws of the Russian Federation and the European Union were discussed by Ivan Zasursky, Head of the Department of New Media and Communication Theory of Lomonosov Moscow State University, President of the Association of Internet Publishers; Ekaterina Chukovskaya, Vice president of Science and Innovation of the Intellectual Property Federation, Legal Adviser to the Editor in Chief of the Great Russian Encyclopedia; Volker Grassmuk, German sociologist and media researcher; and Vladimir Kharitonov, CEO at the Internet Publishers Association.

The meeting started with the discussion of the European Union copyright directive, approved by the European Parliament in September 2018. As told by Volker Grassmuk, the European Copyright Directive creates legal uncertainty not only for a variety of online platforms that host content, but also for ordinary users. It puts unrealistic conditions, said Grassmuck. “For example, the Directive obliges content platforms, including social networks and YouTube, to conduct a dialogue with each author about every work. In order to relieve itself of responsibility, the platform must have a license for every content published on it, whether it be music, photos or videos.”

The Copyright Directive tries to regulate all Internet users, but completely ignores their interests. Hundreds of thousands of EU citizens are concerned about the actions of politicians. “The European Parliament now looks like a d-one who is trying to persuade the laws of physics to work wrong,” said Vladimir Kharitonov, CEO at the Internet Publishers Association, “Modern copyright should be effective, but realistic. It is necessary that the new laws solve the problems of today, and not the difficulties faced by authors of the past.”

Russian copyright law is fundamentally different from the new European Directive. As the President of the Internet Publishers Association Ivan Zasursky noted, only domestic legislation introduces the concept of open licenses in the main code. This type of license involves the transfer from the copyright holder to the user of the right to study, copy and use the work for any purpose. “For the success of the practice of open licenses we use the concept of the noosphere by Vernadsky. As an ideal, we see an informational shell, to which everyone has access on various terms and conditions. There are almost 1,600,000 works on the platform at present.” However, neither Russian nor European legislation has come close to solving the problem of orphan works. “So you understand the scale of the problem, three quarters of all literary works published in Russia in the 20th century are orphaned. They do not have a copyright holder, but it is impossible to use them without appropriate permission from the owner,” said Ivan Zasursky.

“Not a single country has come close to understanding what to do with copyright,” said Ekaterina Chukovskaya, Vice President of Science and Innovation of the Intellectual Property Federation. “The law always catches up with technology, and the trend towards unification of objects requires unification of approaches as well.” At the end of the discussion, Chukovskaya announced that a copyright study would be conducted in different countries of the world to determine a unified approach to intellectual property issues.