Russian State Intellectual Property Agency and Largest Music Publisher to Build a Free Copyright Registry

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The Kremlin in Moscow, Russia photographed on May 7, 2015.

First Music Publishing and the Russian state intellectual property academy (RGIIS) are creating the country’s first ever register of rights for music and other IP in a bid to improve transparency and legitimacy in the rights management industries.

"The national register of intellectual property is an absolutely voluntary system that will allow authors to declare and manage their rights even if they don't have contracts with labels or production companies," a spokesman for the Russian intellectual property agency, an umbrella agency for RGAIS, tells Billboard.

He added that the service is expected to be launched this coming April and that authors will be able to choose among a variety of services offered by the register, from monitoring the use of copyrighted material to full-scale representation.

The register will be "utterly transparent, legitimate and totally accessible for both rights holders and users," said a statement announcing the creation of the register.

Registration of rights and creation of a "digital footprint" will be free for creators, but the costs for other services -- such as licensing approval, processing and payment -- are still being worked out. Public discussion of the issue is to take place during a roundtable meeting at RGAIS on Feb. 29.

Maksim Dmitriyev, general director of First Music Publishing, was quoted by the Russian daily Vedomosti as saying that the register will initially focus on music, but films, books and other types of intellectual property are to be added later.

With about 40,000 tracks in its catalog, First Music Publishing is one of the biggest players in Russia's music publishing sector.

The idea of a copyright register has been floated several times over the last few years. Several months ago, it was brought up by the media communications union, an association of telecom companies. The association said a register of that kind should be managed by a state agency, but no steps in that direction have been made so far.

The registry's founding follows similar steps taken in the U.K., which began work on its Copyright Hub following the publication of “the Hargreaves report” in 2011.