IFPI voices disappointment over postponement of amendments to the Russian copyright law
London, 28 November 2003
The international record industry today expressed its strong disappointment at the Russian Parliament's decision to postpone adoption of the already long-delayed, critical amendments to the Copyright Law.
Chairman and CEO Jay Berman said: "We are deeply disappointed at the postponement of these amendments which, while not completely comprehensive, are a crucial first step towards bringing Russia into line with international standards of copyright protection. This delay sends worrying signals over Russia's publicly voiced commitment to tackle its very serious shortcomings in copyright protection and enforcement. Copyright piracy is now at unprecedented levels in the Russian Federation, with far-reaching consequences to its culture, economy and levels of foreign investment."
For a number of years, the industry has been calling on Russia to urgently adopt changes to its Copyright Law to make it compatible with the requirements of the international treaties it wishes to join or those previously signed, in particular the 1996 WIPO Treaties.
The long-awaited amendments were aimed at bringing Russia in line with international standards by tackling three crucial reforms to the country's copyright system: adapting rights to face technological changes brought about by the growth of the Russian internet market; safeguarding international repertoire by protecting pre-1995 sound recordings and pre-1973 works; and strengthening enforcement standards to combat Russia's vast CD overcapacity which is the breeding ground for rampant CD piracy.
Amendments to the copyright law had been coordinated and agreed between legislators and right holders since the first reading more than a year ago on October 16, 2002. The creative community had been expecting adoption of the amendments by the current composition of the Russian Parliament this week before the forthcoming parliamentary elections scheduled for December. This has now been delayed once again. It is not the result we had been anticipating as a result of our continued discussions with the government.
Today, the value of pirate product in the Russian market is US$350 million, making Russia the second biggest pirate market in the world after China. That is money stolen from the local music industry, which would otherwise invest more in new artists, in creating jobs and in paying more state taxes. When two out of every three recordings is pirated, Russian artists can simply not make a living. International record companies no longer find it viable to invest money in local artists in a country where the number of CD plants have more than doubled in the last three years and production capacity nearly tripled while legitimate sales continue to fall.
In addition, Russia has become a leading exporter of pirate discs; in the last three years approximately 1,000 different international titles were seized in 26 countries outside of the country matched to 18 Russian CD plants. Meanwhile, local Russian record companies are in a fight for survival.
For further information contact Adrian Strain, Julie Harari or Fiona Harley