Zdob si Zdub and Copyright
In yesterday's issue of the Logos Press Economic Review (Экономическое обозрение Логос Пресс) I found a short article about a lawsuit brought against the most famous Moldavian band Zdob si Zdub (and my favourite one) that amazed me quite a lot (original version of the article in Russian is available here).
The lawsuit was brought against the band by Iurii Sadovnic who claimed against the breach of his copyright to the song "Draga Otee" by the band. The Chisinau Court of Appeal satisfied the claim and rewarded 100 000 lei damages to be paid to the claimant by the band (the claimant initially asked for 500 000 lei compensation). The Court's judgment wasn't appealed and came into force.
The song "Draga Otee" had been composed by Iurii Sadovnic (lyrics by Grigore Vieru) and has been performed for 20 years by the composer himself, by Anastasia Lazariuc and then by Zdob si Zdub. So, there were no problems for the claimant to prove his authorship for the song as well as to prove the fact of its performance by Zdob si Zdub in Moldova and beyond its boarders between 1999 and 2005, recording of the respective phonogram and filming the video.
The band refused during judicial proceedings to recognize the claim. One of the arguments mentiond was that the song had been preserved in its original version, no modifications had been introduced, the author's name had been indicated in all cassettes, CDs, videos. At the same time they didn't contest the author's right to get a fee. Another argument submitted by the band's representative in order to reject the lawsuit was that the band had not been registered as a legal entity and, respectively, cannot act as a party to a legal dispute. This argument was overruled by the Court and it recognized all the musicians of the band as respondents.
According to the "Zdubs" version the song had been performed basing on a verbal agreement with the composer. However, that argument was also rejected by the Court as unjustified because according to art. 25 of the Law on Copyright and Allied Rights the copyright agreement had to be concluded in a written form. As far as there was no such written agreement signed, Iurii Sadovnic was recognized to hold exclusive rights to any use of the song.
According to the composer's lawyer, Oleg Muntean, the execution procedures launched at the beginning of the current month. That means that musicians will be proposed to fulfill the judgment requirements voluntarily. Otherwise judicial executers may resort to forced collecting of the sum awarded.
Frankly speaking, I agree with the Court's judgment (at least having only this information). But anyway I really like Zdob si Zdub's performance of the song “Draga Otee". It sounds great when being performed by them. Actually thanks to them it became my favourite song in Romanian. So, I think they have to pay the sum awarded to the composer and ... must keep on performing the song in future. :)