CEBTS - Consortium of European Baptist Theological Schools

Copyright in the former Soviet Union

Olexandr Geichenko

Copyright issues and Open Access Movement in Ukraine

Copyright Law in the USSR

Soon after the October Revolution Russian civil legislation was abolished, including the copyright law (1911). For many years the USSR and later Russia couldn’t become a member of Berne Union since national legislation was not compatible with the Berne Convention. In 1973 the USSR joined the Universal Copyright Convention but level of rights protection was still unsatisfactory to become a participant of Berne Convention.

During the Soviet period the general approach to copyright issues consisted in providing the weakest protection for an author and making the literary and artistic work available to wider audience without author’s permission. The government retained exclusive rights to use an invention while authors just received a certificate confirming their authorship. The legislation also allowed free use of anything publicized by TV, radio, cinematography or newspapers. Both copyright and patent law allowed compulsory redemption of subjective rights of an artist and compulsory permission to use the work.

Since 1990 all of the post-Communist nations in the Slavic, East European, and Eurasian regions have enacted new intellectual property laws or adopted comprehensive amendments on intellectual property. The new laws replaced the Soviet copyright laws that had consisted of the all-union national legislation as well as copyright statutes in each union republic.

The reform process was partly caused by the basic need to replace legal systems of previous regimes, but it also reflects the influence of Western industrialized countries intending to define the scope and content of intellectual property rights globally. This process led to increased harmonization of intellectual property rights, with the promise in some countries of stricter enforcement of violations. Intellectual property laws of many Central and East European nations were restored to the continental traditions updated to conform to stricter standards demanded by international treaties and multilateral trade agreements Note 1.

Here are basic points of the legislation:

  • Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova all contain a provision requiring fixation in material form as a condition of copyright protection.
  • The laws of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova all define the author as the natural person or individual whose creative effort has led to the creation of the work.
  • It is common in laws of the civil system to see a general statement of protected categories of works followed by an enumeration of the types of works protected. The Russian Federation, Belarus, and Moldova follow this practice, while Ukraine provides a non-exhaustive list of types of works without a general statement. The lists in these four laws closely resemble the categories listed in Article 2(1) of the Berne Convention, which provides a non-exhaustive list of works protected under the Convention. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus contain provisions on both computer programs and databases; Moldova includes only computer programs.
  • Russian Federation, Belarus and Moldova offer a basic term of fifty years, but Ukraine offers a basic term of seventy years, as does the U.S.

Ukrainian legislation

Art.21. Free Use of a Work with the Indication of the Author's Name Note 2

The following shall be permitted without the consent of the author (or other copyright holder), and with mandatory indication of the author's name and of the source of borrowing:

  1. to use quotations (brief excerpts) form published works to the extent justified by the intended purpose, […] if this is required by the critical, polemic, scientific or informational nature of the work incorporating the quotations; to freely use quotations in the form of brief excerpts from performances and works incorporated in a phonogram (videogram) or a broadcasting program;
  2. to use literary works and works of art to the extent justified by the intended purpose, such as illustrations in publications, broadcasts, sound recordings or video recordings of educational nature;
  3. to reproduce in the press, to carry out public performance or public notification of previously published newspaper or magazine articles on current economic, political, religious and social issues, or previously broadcast works of the same nature, when the right to carry out such a reproduction, public notification or other public communication has not been specially prohibited by the author;
  4. to reproduce, in order to highlight current events by means of photography or cinematography, to carry out public notification or other public communication of the works seen or heard in the course of such events to the extent justified by the informational purpose;
  5. to reproduce in catalogues works displayed at exhibitions, auctions, fairs and collections that are open for public access for covering the above-mentioned events without using these catalogues for commercial purposes;
  6. to issue works for the blind, published in Braille characters;
  7. to reproduce works for court and administrative proceedings, to the extent justified by this purpose;
  8. to carry out public performance of musical works during official and religious ceremonies, as well as funerals, to the extent justified by the nature of such ceremonies;
  9. to reproduce for informational purposes in newspapers and other periodicals, to transmit by air or to carry out other public notification of publicly delivered speeches, addresses, reports and other similar works, to the extent justified by the intended purpose;
  10. to reproduce a work for the purposes and under the conditions stipulated in Articles 22 through 25 of this Law.

This list of freely usable works is exhaustive.

Art.22. Free Reprographic Reproduction by Libraries and Archives of Specimens of a Work

It shall be permissible for libraries and archives, the activity of which is not aimed, directly or indirectly, at earning profit, to reprographically Note 3 reproduce, without the consent of the author or other copyright holder, one specimen of a work, subject to the following:

  1. when a reproduced work is a separately published article or other small works or excerpts from written works (except for computer software and databases), with or without illustrations, and when the reproduction is made upon an individual’s requests, provided that:

    1. the library or archive has sufficient reason to believe that such a specimen will be used for the purpose of education, training or private research;
    2. reproduction of the work is a single and not a regular event;
  2. when reproduction is made to preserve or replace a lost, damaged or unusable specimen of the library or archive, or to renew a lost, damaged or unusable specimen from the storage of a similar library or archive, and it is impossible to obtain such a specimen by other means, and when reproduction of the work is a single and not a regular event.
Art.23. Free Reproduction of Specimens of a Work for Educational Purposes

The following shall be permitted without the consent of the author or other copyright holder:

  1. to reproduce excerpts from published written works, audiovisual works such as illustrations for educational purposes, provided that the extent of the reproduction is consistent with the indicated purpose;
  2. for educational institutions to reprographically reproduce for classroom lessons published articles and other small works and excerpts from written works, with or without illustrations, provided that:

    1. the extent of the reproduction is consistent with the indicated purpose;
    2. reproduction of the work is a solitary and not a regular event;
Art.24. Free Copying, Modification and Decompilation of Computer Software
  1. A person lawfully possessing a legally produced specimen of computer software shall be entitled to do the following without the consent of the author or other person holding the copyright with respect to the software
  2. to produce one copy of computer software, provided that the copy is made only for archival purposes or to replace a lawfully acquired specimen in case the original computer software is lost, damaged, destroyed or becomes unusable. In this case, the copy of the computer software shall not be used for purposes other than those specified in this clause and clause 1 of this part, and shall be destroyed if possession of a specimen of the computer software ceases to be lawful;
Art.25. Free Reproduction of Works for Personal Purposes
  1. It shall be permissible to reproduce exclusively for personal purposes or for the family circle and for close acquaintances of this family, without the consent of the author (or other copyright holder), and without payment of the author's remuneration, works previously promulgated in a lawful way, except for the following:

    1. works of architecture in the form of buildings and facilities;
    2. computer software, except for the cases stipulated in Article 24 of this Law;
    3. to reprographically reproduce books, musical notifications and original works of fine art, except for the cases stipulated in Articles 22 and 23 of this Law;
  2. It shall be permitted to reproduce works and performances taped in phonograms, videograms and in specimens thereof, as well as audiovisual works and their specimen, in home conditions and exclusively for private purposes or for the family circle without the consent of the author(s), performers, and the producers of the phonograms (videograms), but with paying the author's remuneration. The specifics of paying the author's remuneration in this case are stipulated in Article 42 of the present Law.

The history of Copyright legislation can be summarized as a line of adaptations of legal stipulations to technical progress. Unfortunately, the regulation of relations between author and user causes more limitations for the users …

Consequences of the new Ukrainian Copyright law

ILL and EDD: hot issues
  • Libraries always kept the norms stated above when making photocopies or xerocopies. Copies were made when the patron stated that the document will be used for the purpose of education, research or study. A library acted according to the law preserving or replacing a lost, damaged or unusable specimen of the library or archive.
  • The key discussion is related to EDD (electronic document delivery). Does a library break the copyright law providing EDD? Is EDD a copying process or is it reproduction in quantity? Any library should balance open access to information and protection of author’s rights providing patrons with temporary access to the stored documents. The librarians should realize that they can’t guarantee that the copy will be used by one user only for the stated purpose.
  • What is an image on a computer monitor: a reproduction, multiplication or even a new form?
  • Electronic document delivery without paying an author's remuneration is illegal. The problem is that in Ukraine the system of payments for copies of a work is not developed yet. Most of the Ukrainian librarians agree that the right of open access to information should be provided for the citizens. It means that patrons should be able to survey electronic documents, to copy parts of the document under strict control of a librarian with the educational and research purposes.
  • Another difficulty is connected with the preservation of documents. It is not possible to scan the same document many times because it will be destroyed. This will certainly happen to heavily demanded documents. At the same time the practice is illegal according to the Copyright Law. Current legislation does not address this issue and librarians desire that the technical copies will be exempted from the law. The temporary and technical copies should not be treated as copies in a case of providing the technological processes of a library.
  • Intellectual property is viewed today with intense interest by the business sector as being about the creation of property rights in new information, about the creation of intellectual capital. Other sectors of society, while recognizing the growing economic importance of intellectual property in national economies and international trade, seek to balance the economic focus with an emphasis on the public interest, by opposing restrictions to freedom of access to information and the profit motives of the "intellectual property industries."

Open Access Movement in Ukraine

The project Open access to research literature of IRF is implemented in cooperation with Information program of Open Society Institute
(OSI) Note 4 and Electronic Information for Libraries Consortia (eIFL).

Ukraine: at the beginning was …

Open Access (OA) Movement in Ukraine started in March 2004 with an awareness raising campaign (article about OA in one of the most influential weeklies Dzerkalo Tyzhnia/ Mirror of the Week). The next step (a seminar about OA journals for the editors of scientific and scholarly journals) took place in April 2004 for editors of all Ukrainian academic journals published by the institutions of National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and organized in cooperation with NAS of Ukraine.

Since that time workshops and presentations about OA Journals and OA Institutional Repositories are regularly held for university librarians, society publishers and academic community.

Open Access Conference, February 17-19, 2005

An Open Access Scholarly Communication Workshop was held for the first time in Central and Eastern Europe on February 17-19, 2005, hosted by National University Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, organized by IRF, OSI, NAS of Ukraine, International Association of Academies of Sciences and National University Kyiv Mohyla Academy, and supported by East-East Program: Partnership Beyond Boarders of OSI and the British Council Ukraine.

The workshop focused on the free availability of peer-reviewed scholarly articles online. Over 140 researchers, administrators, librarians, information managers from higher educational institutions and scientific research laboratories involved in e-journal publishing and institutional repository development from 17 countries discussed benefits of open access scholarly communication, best practices of launching open access journals and converting subscription-based journals to open access, the development of institutional repositories, reasonable copyright for open access scholarship and other related issues.

The workshop participants based their discussions on the principles of Budapest Open Access Initiative, Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing, Berlin Declaration on Open Access to Knowledge in the Sciences and Humanities, IFLA Statement on Open Access to Scholarly Literature and Research Documentation, and Declaration of Principles WSIS and made their own recommendations on open access to information and knowledge and reasonable copyright development.

Recommendations endorsed by Ukrainian Vice-Prime Minister

Workshop participants signed Recommendations for harmonization of national educational policy with OA. Recommendations that the Ukrainian authorities ensure:

  • the right of individuals and the public to access information and knowledge and to guarantee that IP regimes are not the obstacles to the public’s access to knowledge;
  • to encourage research and higher educational institutions to practice OA;
  • to put an OA condition to state funded researches (except reasonable exceptions) and to provide state fund and technical assistance to research and higher educational institutions to set up and maintain OAR (with condition to adopt a policy to encourage or require OA research output);
  • to support ICT development in libraries, archives, museums and other organizations providing access to information and to provide state fund and technical assistance to OA to cultural heritage.

After the workshop Access to Knowledge a web-site ( was developed in cooperation with NGO Privacy Ukraine. The recommendations were also addressed to the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, other national and international entities related to culture, education, and research Note 5.

Parliamentary Hearings, September 21, 2005

The first Parliamentary hearings on the development of the information society of Ukraine took place on September 21, 2005. They resulted into Parliamentary Inquiry on Harmonization of Governmental Educational Policies re OA movement. Ukrainian Parliament (Verhovna Rada) passed resolution On Recommendations of Parliamentary hearing on Developing information society in Ukraine (from 01.12.2005 ? 3175-IV):

  • open access is one of the priorities in developing information society; the Cabinet of Ministers should create favorable conditions for developing open access repositories in archives, libraries, museums and other cultural institutions.
  • The Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine should encourage development of open access resources in science, technology and education with open access condition to state funded researches.
  • Open Access is also one of the priorities in National strategy on developing information society in Ukraine introduced to Ukrainian Parliament by Parliamentary Committee on Science and Education.
The Network of Open Access Repositories

On October 2005 a network of OA repositories in Ukraine was launched by Informatio Consortia and Scientific Library of National University Kyiv-Mohyla Academy with 9 other Universities (presented at the national conference INFORMATIO 2005 for university and regional universal scientific libraries).

2006 Activities

In 2006 IRF kept promoting of OA and awareness raising (informational workshops for interested scholars and academic institutions encouraging research and higher educational institutions to practice OA, informational workshops for the journalists about OA, competition for the journalist writing about OA, competitions of students' researches about OA).

The steps on including Ukrainian OA journals into Directory of OA Journals and indexing Ukrainian OA journals by Google were taken. IRF also kept working on the policy level (Access to Knowledge Act, adaptation of Creative Commons licenses, implementing harmonization of national educational policy with OA movement and OA condition to state funded researches and cultural heritage). The plans include investigation of Ukrainian scholars' and journal editors' attitude to OA.

IRF continue consultations on development of OA journals (organizational and technical support, policy and business-plans development, training) for the interested society publishers.

Conference for theological librarians 2007


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