Russian copyright law

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  • I am working with an instructor who would like to create a printed course pack for a college level Russian class. Can we include things like children's songs, poems, proverbs and folk songs that are from her own childhood memories without copyright permission?

    Additionally, she would like to include the words to the current Russian National Anthem in the same course pack. Is that permissible? If not, does anyone know how or where we could we request permission?

    Thanks for your help.
  • Since Russia is, I believe, a signatory of the Berne Convention, my understanding is that use of Russian works in the US would need to follow US copyright law. I would imagine that most children's songs, poems, proverbs and folks songs from your instructor's childhood would be old enough to be in the public domain, but it might be worth discussing this with the instructor, and possibly doing some research to see if you can determine when the specific works were written or published.

    It looks like the current Russian national anthem may be Hymn of the Russian Federation (I checked wikipedia, but didn't take it further than that at this point), and the lyrics may be a fairly new revision. I'm not sure if they could be considered a work for hire for the Russian Federation, or an independent work. If the latter, it should still be under copyright. If the former, then it would depend upon whether or not the Russian Federation claims copyright for government works, and I'm not sure of the answer to that question.

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