Mattelart assesses the current state of audiovisual piracy, citing a French article by Ilya Kiriya on arguing Russia’s place in protecting copyrights. Specifically, he looks at the immediate post-Soviet time period and why the established piracy industries were not addressed by the international community until well into the 21st century, rather than in the 1990s.
Below are some examples of the development of the Russian opera form:
Cavatina from A Life for the Tsar, composed by Mikhail Glinka, performed by Anna Netrebko (start at 3:00 mark)
La Donna E Mobile from Rigoletto, composed by Giuseppe Verdi, performed by Andrea Bocelli
The Swan Princess Aria from Act IV from Tale of Tsar Saltan, composed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, performed by Anna Netrebko
As you’ll notice, the first and third arias are from Russian operas, while the second is from an Italian opera. Mikhail Glinka is considered the first major Russia composer, with his opera, A Life for the Tsar, the first successful Russian opera. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was a member of the Mighty Five, a Russian nationalist music group, who advanced the Russian form to a level independent from western Europe. In listening to the two examples, the evolution of the Russian form is evident in the lush and melodic tone of Rimsky-Korsakov’s aria. Interestingly, if you compare the Glinka and Verdi examples, it is evident of Glinka’s quoting of the Italian opera form in their similarities of instrumentation, lightness, and simplicity. The link is important to establish the history of Russian composers using foreign source material in order to break into new art forms.
Similarly, here is an example of early Russian rock music:
Ivan Bodhidharma performed by Aquarium
London Calling performed by The Clash
The plagiarism is quite evident in the second example. It can be argued that in order for these new forms to take hold in Russia, early composers and song writers had to copy ideas from foreign sources as they established the Russian version of that form. In the Soviet rock music’s example, criticism of the plagiarism occurred and several of the early Soviet rock groups were not successful as a result of similar plagiarism cases.
This article follows a round table Managing IP had with several Russian experts on IP and copyright. There was much discussion on whether Part IV would help or hurt Russian copyright law. The general consensus was that the code, in large part, didn’t change from the previous law. In addition, because current amendments were being proposed to the old copyright laws, those amendments would need to go through a new process to amend Part IV. There was much criticism that, due to haste, these amendments were not included in the first place. One comment that struck me was from Yuri Mikhailichenko, who was the Executive Secretary of the Expert Council on Legal Regulation and Protection of Intellectual Property for the State Duma. His observation is that Part IV “is a document which has increased the interest of Russian society in IP and is a signal that the government and president are looking at the problem and trying to do something (Managing IP 50).” It would seem that Part IV is largely made to placate the world, as Russia was working on joining the WTO at the time; rather than make serious strides to resolving some of its copyright issues. Further on, there is a discussion on why IP was included in civil law, rather than criminal with a good citing of the issues surrounding the music industry. In essence, current enforcement takes too long and the punishments amount to a pittance of the possible income. These fines currently do not serve as a deterrent for the crimes committed.
This book review of G. Gregory Letterman’s Basics of International Property Law summarizes the field of intellectual property, in addition to commenting on the priorities of governments in relation to the protection of IP.
Komaromi’s article looks to define samizdat more completely and how the term can be misleading when assessing the impact of Soviet dissidents on the fall of the Soviet Union. I include this article to juxtapose the differences between audiovisual and text cultures in the development of the underground Soviet cultural movement.
AllofMP3.com was a Russian website, which was shut down in 2007 amid an international outcry, led by the United States, over pirated music. This Washington Post article chronicles a bit of the story immediately preceding the shut down, telling about a UK man who was arrested for copyright infringement for selling vouchers to the site as credit card companies denied the site service (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/21/AR2007052100411.html). Benko’s article was published before Russia’s Civil Code, Part IV was amended, but it offers a view on the pre-existing problem as a contrast to today’s problems arising as a result of the new policy. He examines the issues surrounding the piracy digital music, using AllofMP3 as a case study, and how the WTO and WIPO needed to respond to international copyright disputes.
I’ve included this review in my research, not for the book being quoted, but because of Zhuk’s critique of missing information in the book at the end of the review. He provides a quick synopsis of why Soviet rock music had problems developing, specifically because early groups plagiarized from western groups.