The principle of equality and objects of copyright law: a commentary on the judgment of the Constitutional Court of Russian Federation of 16 June 2022 no. 25-P

Available in Russian

Available for free

Author: Andrey Rumyantsev

DOI: 10.21128/1812-7126-2022-5-127-141

Keywords: author; compilation work; use of protected work; computer program; free software; open source


The subject-matter of this judgment of the Constitutional Court is the question whether judicial protection of the rights of the author of a compilation work is admissible in a situation where he allegedly violated the rights of authors of works used in creating his own. The courts of previous instances, starting with the appellate one, decided that under such circumstances the author of a compilation work cannot defend his rights in court, without making any exceptions even for that part of the disputed work that was entirely produced by the creative effort of the author-compiler, acting here simultaneously as compiler and as the author of original work. The Constitutional Court decided that Section 3 of Article 1260 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation interpreted in this way is unconstitutional by violating a number of norms of the Russian Constitution, in particular certain provisions of Articles 19, 34, and 44. The case under consideration concerns the rights to a computer program. However, there is some uncertainty about the extent to which the unconstitutional norm should be amended, namely, whether these changes should concern only computer programs or also all other objects of copyright law. It is also unclear whether the requirements of the Constitutional Court’s judgment are to be applied only to compilation works or also to derivatives that are regulated by this norm on a par with compilations. The commentary to the judgment shows that there are strong reasons in favor of a non-expansive, literal understanding and implementation of the judgment of the Constitutional Court. This is due to the peculiarities of computer programs, as these differ significantly from other copyright objects. In addition, it is shown that the current copyright regulation of computer programs does not take into account these special features adequately, thus yielding a number of paradoxes. Considering implementation of the judgment of the Constitutional Court in this matter, we have to admit that the legislator faces a difficult task, one which will be hard to complete without changing a number of key provisions in the legal regulation of computer programs.

About the author: Andrey Rumyantsev – Dr. jur., Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the journal “Comparative constitutional review”, Moscow.

Citation: Rumyantsev A. (2022) Printsip ravenstva i ob’ekty avtorskikh prav: kommentariy k Postanovleniyu Konstitutsionnogo Suda Rossiyskoy Federatsii ot 16 iyunya 2022 goda № 25-P [The principle of equality and objects of copyright law: a commentary on the judgment of the Constitutional Court of Russian Federation of 16 June 2022 no. 25-P]. Sravnitel’noe konstitutsionnoe obozrenie, vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 127–141. (In Russian).


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