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Title: Moral rights and creative freedom : a study of post-Communist law reform in Russia
Author: Sundara Rajan, Mira T.
ISNI:       0000 0001 1445 8184
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2003
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This thesis explores the relationship between law reform and social transformation in post-socialist countries. It deals with the doctrine of the moral right of the author, an aspect of copyright law that seeks to protect the personal interests of an author or artist in his creative work. The thesis argues that moral rights can make an important contribution to democratisation in the post-socialist world. The doctrine of moral rights helps to provide adequate and appropriate protection for creative freedom, an unequalled source of diversity and integrity in the realm of ideas - the very essence of democratic values. In spite of their importance for post-socialist countries, moral rights have not been a focus of copyright reform. Rather, new copyright laws reflect the pressure to conform to international standards, especially those set by the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The WTO considers copyright to be an area of commercial regulation with crucial implications for the international trade regime; its personal and cultural aspects, especially moral rights, are viewed with suspicion. As a result, moral rights have not been emphasised in post-socialist law reform, and, more generally, there has been little investigation of their implications for the special needs of transitional and economically less-developed countries. To illustrate this situation, the thesis undertakes a detailed study of moral rights in Russia. It shows that Soviet Russia had developed legal protection for moral rights in its copyright law. However, the extreme censorship practices of an autocratic state meant that moral rights had little practical value for authors and artists. Instead, their potential contribution to creative freedom remained virtually unrealised. In post-Communist times, law reform has focussed on bringing Russian copyright law into line with WTO requirements. However, given the importance of creative freedom for social change in post-Communist Russia and the special suitability of moral rights doctrine to protecting creativity, Russia should now reconsider its treatment of moral rights. This thesis argues that moral rights should be an integral part of copyright law and policy in all post-socialist countries. It goes on to suggest that the development of moral rights after socialism will be facilitated by new conceptual approaches to the doctrine. In particular, a consideration of the manipulative treatment of authors and artists, and the passive role of copyright law in socialist society shows moral rights to be closely aligned with freedom of creativity. The thesis proposes a "new" model of moral rights for post-socialist societies, based on the close relationship between the moral rights of authors and the human right to free creative expression. This model is not only relevant to the post-socialist world; it also provides a new way of looking at moral rights in the international community, which faces an authentic, though largely unacknowledged, need to affirm the humanistic values inherent in culture and creativity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Law