Soviet period films in today’s copyright law: German and baltic experience

Ramūnas Birštonas, Thomas Hoffmann, Aleksei Kelli, Vadim Mantrov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This article reviews the legal experience of Germany, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania dealing with the films that were created in these countries during the Soviet period. These films do not only form a remarkable part of the cultural heritage of these nations, but also a possible source of revenues as well. Within this context, a particularly acute question concerns the legal fate of digitized versions of these films, inflicting a multitude of copyright law issues, as the majority of these films are still protected by copyright. In contrast to the almost identical legal regulation in the Soviet period, after the collapse of the Soviet Union all the four countries investigated in this paper chose separate ways to address copyright problems which soon arose, resulting in a surprisingly heterogeneous treatment of film copyrights, which spans from considerably user-friendly solutions to factual lockups of the film stock.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-220
Number of pages22
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2014



  • Audiovisual works
  • Authors
  • Copyright
  • Films
  • Performers
  • Related rights
  • Soviet period

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)

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