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Regular version of the site

Article

Debates on Criteria of Copyrightability in Russia

Russian Law Journal. 2014. Vol. 2. No. 1. P. 57-81.

In codifying intellectual property rights, Russian legislators have left it a moot point what standards of originality and creativity can be criteria of copyrightability.

Nevertheless, it is crucial for answering questions about where the bottom boundary of the copyrightability of a work lies, and, consequently, what products of intellectual work that has an insignificant creative component but is of high economic importance, e.g. databases, computer software, advertisement slogans or design work, are to be copyrightable.

Analyses of debates in legal literature and court rulings issued over the past few years warrant the conclusion that there is a trend to set looser standards of originality and creativity and grant copyright protection to works of low authorship.

This article addresses the problem of identifying criteria of copyrightability and non-copyrightability in the Russian legal system, modelling various types of demarcation criteria, and analyzing their strong and weak points. The article also describes the trend in Russian judicial practice to grant copyright protection to works of low authorship and goes into problems and contradictions that this entails. It compares principles evolved in Russian law with similar principles used abroad, mainly in Germany.