Lawrence, KS asked in Intellectual Property for Minnesota

Q: A book I wrote was pirated and published in Russia, selling 15,000 copies. Is there anything I can do?

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2 Lawyer Answers
Robert Douglas Kane Jr
Robert Douglas Kane Jr
Answered
  • Eagan, MN
  • Licensed in Minnesota

A: Yes, there may be something you can do. There are protections for unauthorized use. Here is a publication from the US Copyright Office.(http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ38a.pdf). Obviously, you will need to evaluate your chances of being able to obtain a judgment and collecting it.

Bruce E Burdick
Bruce E Burdick
Answered
  • Alton, IL

A: The prior answer refers to a Copyright Office brochure. The links at www.copyright.gov have changed. The circular on International Copyright is now at http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl100.pdf.

The prior answer also says there is something you can do. The actual fact is that relative to infringement in Russia there is little you can do, unless the Russian publisher tries to sell in the US or elsewhere outside Russia or the number of copies is sufficiently large to make litigation economically viable. 15,000 copies will probably not be enough. While you can take advantage of a treaty called the Berne Convention of 1989 and the Universal Copyright Convention of 1955 which Russia joined after the fall of the former USSR, the country remains so riddled with corruption that copyright enforcement there is seldom cost effective except on huge items.

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