Lenin’s Favourite Songs: A Copyright Question


(Image from Wikipedia)

(Image from Wikipedia)

So in my last post I wrote the story of how I got this tape of Russian music, that I thought was called Lenin’s Favourites. I have looked high and low for a CD of the music, in all the music shops, on Amazon, etc. It’s not to be found and no one has even heard of it.

Then I googled Lenin’s Favourites yesterday, and found that people have been looking for the music that U2 used at the beginning of their song “Daddy’s Gonna Pay For Your Used Car”. Someone had found out that the music came from a record called Lenin’s Favourite Songs. Which is probably the tape I have. I listened to the U2 song, and the music is indeed from one of the songs on my tape.

With some more googling, I found that Lenin’s Favourite Songs was a record produced by a Soviet government-owned record label in the 1960s. It’s not for sale in the United States and I have found no mention of it ever being re-released.

So I was wondering: People want to hear this music and it’s not available. The record label that produced it doesn’t exist anymore, because the Soviet Union doesn’t exist anymore. So would there still be copyright on it, or could I get my tape transfered to CD and then upload it to Youtube? I wouldn’t be making money off it; I’d just be sharing something rare that I have and that can’t be acquired new in any other way.

I googled Soviet copyright law, and learned that all Soviet-era copyrighted products were transferred to Russian copyright law in the 1990s, which supposedly more or less follows international copyright law. As I understand it, music recordings have a copyright length of 50 years from the time of the recording. Which would make it alright to upload my tape to Youtube.

But in 2008 another part of Russian copyright law came into force, part IV of the Civil Code of Russia, and I’m confused about whether or not it extends copyright to 70 years after recording or not. And it seems that changes are still being made to the Code.

So my question is this: is there anyone out there who knows enough about Russian copyright law to tell me definitively whether or not I could share this music on Youtube?

16 responses to “Lenin’s Favourite Songs: A Copyright Question

  1. I wish I knew enough to help you out . . . but I don’t. Good luck as you look into the issue.

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  2. Hello.

    I found this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_etOhLepJxM
    I really would like if you can share your tape. It would be great. 🙂
    Regards

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  3. When in the USSR in the 1980s I bought a copy of this record in Moscow. Sadly, I think I got rid of it with all my other LPs!

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  4. I bought this LP in Moscow in the late 80s but think I gave it away with all my other ones!

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  5. It was re-released in 1978, according to this WNYC public radio article. If you ever find a real copy, let the world know! http://www.wnyc.org/story/lenin-favorite-songs/

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    • Hm, interesting. I haven’t heard the tape I have in years, because I no longer have a cassette player, but I don’t remember these songs being on there. But if it was a 2-record set, maybe the cassette is of the second record. I just bought a little cassette transformer thingy, so soon I’ll be able to upload it to my computer. I never did get an answer from the Russian copyright folks, and I figure they’re too busy invading former Soviet satellites right now, so I might put them all on Youtube. Or at least my favorites.

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  6. Sean McCormick

    Have there been any updates on this in the interim? I’ve found one of the songs from this tape on Amazon (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0019D4W10?ie=UTF8&colid=23QTPCMMC0OB6&coliid=I17FUJGKZNTEZW&ref_=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl, track 36) but I’d love to know if the copyright issues on the original tape have been sorted out.

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    • Hi Sean, no, nothing so far. I sent a letter to the copyright department in Russia that seemed the most appropriate, but got no response, and I didn’t really expect one. I’m still debating just putting it on Youtube and just seeing what happens. So if I do and I die of poisoning, you’ll know why. 😉

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  7. Go for it

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