Russian Federation: General Overview Of Russian Copyright Law

Last Updated: 24 June 2014
Article by Petr Shevtsov and Valentin Petrov

Legal Framework

In Russia, copyright issues are governed by Part IV of the Russian Civil Code ("CC") that became effective on January 1, 2008. It replaced the 1993 copyright law which, in turn, drew heavily upon provisions of the conventions of Berne and Rome regarding copyright and neighboring rights and the model laws of World Intellectual Property Organization ("WIPO"). Part IV of the CC establishes a comprehensive legal framework governing intellectual property (IP) issues, however, in many substantive respects its provisions that are applicable to copyright are similar to the provisions of its predecessor 1993 Russian copyright law. Chapter 69 of the CC sets out general provisions applicable to IP, including copyright. Chapter 70 deals with copyright (called "author's right") and Chapter 71 deals with neighboring rights such as rights to phonograms and broadcasting, as well as scientific works (neighboring rights are outside the scope of this analysis).

Article 5 of Federal Law No. 231-FZ, dated December 18, 2006 (as amended), that brought CC Part IV into force, provided that the provisions of CC Part IV applied not only to all new works, but also new rights and obligations that would arise on pre-existing works. Article 5 further established that existing IP rights were henceforth protected in accordance with CC Part IV, but the authorship and other initial rights were determined by the law effective at the time when a work was created. Pursuant to Article 6 of Federal Law No. 231-FZ, the general 70-year copyright term established by Part IV of the CC applies to situations where the previously applicable 50-year copyright term had not expired by January 1, 1993, as well as to copyrights held by legal entities (as opposed to individuals) that arose prior to August 3, 1993.

Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property, Patents and Trademarks (Rospatent) is the federal agency overseeing the use and legal protection of IP rights in Russia. Russia is party to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works of September 9, 1886 (as amended) and the Universal Copyright Convention of September 6, 1952 (as revised on July 24, 1971). Both became effective for Russia on March 13, 1995. As Russia is a party of the WTO, it is bound by the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects on Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In 2008, Russia joined the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) that entered into force with regard to Russia on February 5, 2009.

General Provisions

General provisions applicable to IP, including copyright, are set out in CC Chapter 69. Article 1225 of the CC lists types of protected IP, including literary, scientific and artistic works. Unlike the Soviet-era law that allowed legal entities to be deemed "authors", both the 1993 copyright law and CC Part IV only recognize individuals who created the work as authors. Article 1228 expressly states that persons who provide technical, advisory, financial or logistical assistance or supervision, but do not contribute to the creative process, cannot be recognized as authors.

IP rights include the exclusive right and, to the extent provided by the CC, may include "personal non-economic rights" or "other rights" (CC Article 1226). The exclusive right is an economic right that is transferable. It has a period of duration. The exclusive right holder may use the work in any legitimate way and derive financial reward from it, as well as authorize or prevent certain acts in relation to the work. Specifically, the rights owner may authorize or prohibit the reproduction of the work (such as in printed publications), the distribution of its copies, its broadcasting or other communication to the public, its translation into other languages or its adaptation (such as novel into a screenplay). "Personal non-economic rights" (including right to claim authorship of the work) are moral rights allowing the author to take certain actions to preserve the personal link between him or her self and the work. They are non-transferable and cannot be waived (CC Articles 1228 and 1265).

Rules on Copyright

In Russia (as in many continental European countries) copyright is known as "author's rights". CC Article 1259 contains a detailed list of works that are subject to author's rights, including literary works, derivative works (such as translations), collections (such as encyclopedias or data bases), artistic and graphic works, photographs and similar works, computer programs, etc. Article 1259 expressly excludes certain items (such as folklore, news items and official documents and symbols or ideas, discoveries, processes, etc.) from the definition protected works of authorship. It provides that the protection extends both to published and unpublished works and that no registration or other formalities are required for the creation, exercise or protection of author's rights.

Specific provisions governing copyright appear in Chapter 70 of the CC. Pursuant to Article 1255 and related Articles, the author's rights include:

  1. exclusive right to the work (discussed in more detail below);
  2. right of authorship (i.e. the right to be recognized as the author of the work);
  3. "right to name" (i.e. the right of the author to use or authorize the use of a work under his or her name, under a pen name or anonymously);
  4. right of integrity (i.e. the requirement that any modifications, edits, commentaries or illustrations to the work may only be made or added with the consent of the author, as well as the right of the author to demand protection of its reputation and personal integrity),
  5. right of publication (an author who has contractually transferred to another person the right to use its work is deemed to have consented to the publication of the work by such person); and
  6. in cases provided by the CC, other rights (such as the right to withdraw its consent to the publication of work subject to compensating the publisher for resulting damages).

Author's rights discussed under items (ii) through (iv) enjoy protection during an indefinite term. The general term of the author's exclusive right is 70 years after the death of the author (Article 1281) following which the work becomes public domain and may be freely used by anyone (except for unpublished works whose author during his or her lifetime expressly objected to their publication).

Consistent with the general provisions regarding the scope of exclusive rights to IP set out in Chapter 69 of the CC, Article 1270 offers examples of uses of protected rights. Those include reproduction (such as reproduction by the publisher), distribution, public display, import, rental; public performance, broadcasting and similar communication to the public; translation or other adaptation of the work (i.e. creation of a derivative work) or making the work publicly available in any other way. Some forms of reproduction (e.g. certain types of quotations, certain uses in educational text books or by libraries) do not require the author's consent or payment of compensation to the author, provided that the name of the author and the source are clearly indicated.

Generally, it is the author who holds the exclusive right. However, when a work is created by an author who is employed for the purpose of creating that work, then it is the employer, not the author, who holds copyright in the work, unless otherwise provided by contract between the author and the employer. CC Article CC 1295 provides certain exceptions and limitations to this rule.

CC Article 1284 provides that the exclusive right held by the author is not subject to attachment. However, author's claims to third persons under exclusive right transfer agreements or licensing agreements, as well as any revenues derived from the use of a work, may be attached. Similarly, exclusive rights held by persons other than the author, as well as licensee's rights to use a work, may be subject to attachment.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions