The Comparative Lessons of Itar-Tass Russian News Agency v Russian Kurier
The Cambridge Handbook of Intellectual Property in Central and Eastern Europe, Mira T. Sundara Rajan, ed., Cambridge University Press, pp. 110-31, 2019
23 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2018 Last revised: 12 Aug 2019
Date Written: June 22, 2018
For a large part of the past century, the cold war between the Soviet Union and the United States and Russia’s continued refusal to join the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the predominant international copyright agreement, have raised complicated questions concerning the protection of Russian authors in the United States. The case that has received considerable attention in intellectual property literature is Itar-Tass Russian News Agency v. Russian Kurier, Inc. Filed in the mid-1990s, shortly after Russia’s accession to the Berne Convention but before its admission to the World Trade Organization, this case covered not only choice-of-law questions in the intellectual property field but also the interrelationship between domestic law and international treaties. Less frequently explored, however, are the rich comparative lessons that the case has provided on the development of intellectual property law and policy in Central and Eastern Europe.
Taking advantage of the twentieth anniversary of the decision handed down by the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and the author’s past interest and experience in Russian media law and policy, this commissioned chapter closely examines the various comparative lessons provided by the case. It begins by recapturing the judicial opinions in the first instance and at the appellate level. The chapter then examines the comparative lessons in four specific areas: (1) the choice of applicable law; (2) the role of private international law in resolving cross-border intellectual property disputes; (3) the interplay of intellectual property and freedom of expression; and (4) the impact of the global economy on international intellectual property norm setting.
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