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The three-headed defender of Russian authors

Source: Grill IP patents news

Royalty_RussiaWe recently reported the travails of Sergei Fedotov, the defender of authors’ rights in Russia and notorious collector of castles. Currenlty he’s a defendant rather than a defender. To add to the woes, the Russian Presidential Office for the Rights of Business and Intellectual Property reportedly plans to file a class action lawsuit against the Russian Authors Society (RAO), which Mr Fedotov chairs. The man in charge of the Office for the Rights of Business, meanwhile, is Boris Titov, a towering figure  and not the man one would want to get into a fight with. Mr Fedotov should be especially wary, not least as he is currently fighting on three fronts.  Back in the day, the Head of the RAO created two more sister societies —  the Russian Union of Rightsholders (the RSP, focused on films) and the All-Russian Intellectual Property Organization (the VOIS, focused on music). All three authorities were de facto unified in one. Fedotov himself invented a nice name for it — “a natural monopoly”. However, paying out the royalties to poets and writers seem to be quite unnatural. In 2013, for example, the author Ilya Reznik earned the hefty sum of 12 kopeks ($0,001) during a whole year. At that point he decided to say goodbye to the RAO.

The three “heads” of this monster monopoly, meanwhile, could not live in peace. The RSP and the VOIS started to bully the main head, the RAO. Oddly enough, the fight was over money. The RAS had forgotten about the other two organizations and decided to have all that money for itself. And what about the authors? Well, who cares? The RAO after all cares only about those who were in the Authors Council – which has precisely 23 members. Some surnames may sound familiar to you: Syutkin, Malikov, Antonov, Matvienko. All of them are on the record for defending the RAO and claiming in a letter that the organisaiton was alive and well.

It is true, the RAO still operates; right now Sergei’s mother Vera Fedotova is in charge.  It looks like an innocent family business but, for some reason, the family has its money and authors don’t. That’s why Valeri Rashkin, a Duma member, asked the Culture Ministry to check RAO’s working processes.

Rashkin and Titov want to fight the main “head” of the monster — fair enough, it’s better to deal with the leader than waste time on secondary structures.

In Psycho, Norman Bates said, “A boy’s best friend is his mother.”  Let’s see if it’s true in this case.


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