Generally, copyright is regarded as a particular form of intellectual property. The copyright system developed in the 1990s was nearer to the droit d‘auteur tradition. The system was harmonised with European and international regulations especially in matters concerned with new technologies in the arts, in communication and dissemination. Russia became a signatory to the Geneva (of 1952, 1971), Rome (1961) and Berne Conventions. In June 2008, Russia also joined the WIPO Copyright Treaty agreement.
Joining the WTO put forward restrictions in legislation and its applications against piracy. However, sentences pronounced in the courts for violations of intellectual property rights before 2008 were mainly suspended, which could not stop criminality.
New and stricter regulations were introduced on 1 January 2008 in the Fourth Part of the Civil Code that replaced all the previous legal acts on authors’ rights and widened legal responsibility for violations. The regime of collective managing of author’s rights and neighbouring rights was also tightened. Though the Code presupposes free use of works for cultural needs, some of its statements misbalanced the rights of authors (rights reinforced) and fair use.
Author’s rights are applied to works of science, literature and art, regardless of their purpose, quality and means of expression, both to published and unpublished works in any form, including derivative works (translations, music arrangements, etc.). The Law protects the work in its entirety, its parts and fragments, title and characters; the editor and producer became subjects of author’s rights. Novellas of the Civil Code IV have tightened punishment for copyright violations and widened its protection by introducing publisher’s neighbouring rights and artist’s rights on performance. The list of authors protected by the Law was also extended to collaborators on collective works: scriptwriters, film directors, etc. In April 2008, the Governmental Act introduced author’s fees for public resale of their works.