The Russian Authors’ Society (RAO) is suing a major producer of thematic channels, Red Media, over music videos on its A minor channel. RAO believes that Leonid Agutin, Angelica Varum, Lolita and other performers did not receive the due payments for these broadcasts. The co-respondent is the operator “ER-Telecom”, in whose networks “A minor” was broadcasting. The broadcasters’ market remains uncertain about who should pay RAO, a TV channel or an operator, and the outcome of the case will be determined by further practice, experts say.
On July 1, the Moscow Arbitration Court will consider RAO’s claim against Red Media and the ER-Telecom provider for the recovery of 4.64 million rubles. for copyright infringement, follows from the data of the court file. The lawsuit (Kommersant has) was filed back in August 2020: RAO said that the Red Media TV channel A minor on October 3, 2019 broadcast songs by Leonid Agutin, Polina Gagarina, Philip Kirkorov, Lolita, Angelica Varum and other Russian performers (a total of 88 songs are listed). Red Media did not have a license agreement with RAO, the manufacturer did not pay compensation after the pre-trial claim and violated the rights of the authors, RAO writes in the lawsuit. In December 2020, at the request of RAO, the court attracted ER-Telecom as a co-defendant, through whose cable networks the controversial songs were broadcast.
Red Media and ER-Telecom declined to comment until the end of the proceedings, RAO did not respond to Kommersant’s inquiries.
Since 2008, RAO has been collecting royalties from TV channels, radio stations, cinemas, cafes, etc. in favor of authors (composers and songwriters).
There is still uncertainty in the broadcasting market as to whether it is the responsibility of the TV channel or the operator, he notes. “The outcome of the proceedings will in many respects bring order and whitewash the market,” Mr. Semenov believes.
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The main thing in the outcome of the case is whether ER-Telecom will be recognized as responsible, according to the lawyers interviewed by Kommersant. According to the law, broadcasting and cable communication are two independent ways of using musical works, from this point of view, claims for payment of remuneration for each seem justified, notes Vasily Zuev, head of the intellectual property practice of Intellectual Capital. However, it is unclear whether in this case the cable operator can be attributed to information intermediaries, the lawyer adds.
The cable operator does not participate in the creation of illegal content, that is, it can be recognized as an intermediary, but the category of information intermediaries in Russia as a whole is not defined, and the responsibility extends to the person who carries out the technical transmission of material on the network, explains Vadim Reznichenko, head of the atLegal firm.
“Responsibility will be determined by the degree of guilt of the cable operator in creating and distributing illegal content and taking measures to stop copyright infringement after it became aware of the claims of the copyright holders, ”adds the lawyer.
According to Natalya Gulyaeva, Managing Partner of Hogan Lovells CIS, RAO’s chances of recovering compensation from one of the defendants or from both at once “seem good”, since we are talking about Russian content for which RAO, in contrast to the situation with foreign content, is usually there are rights to manage the authors’ property rights.