Viewing cable 07VILNIUS243
Title: PROTECTING THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS OF SOVIET

IdentifierCreatedReleasedClassificationOrigin
07VILNIUS2432007-04-06 09:22:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Vilnius
VZCZCXRO6966
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RUEHLN RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHVL #0243/01 0960922
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 060922Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY VILNIUS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1156
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 VILNIUS 000243 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE PASS TO USTR (JCGROVES) 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: ECON KIPR ETRD PGOV LH
SUBJECT: PROTECTING THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS OF SOVIET 
AUTHORS IN LITHUANIA 
 
 
¶1. Summary:  A dispute over the right of Soviet-era artists to 
profit from their work has generated an intriguing dispute that 
threatens to damage a satirical amusement park cheekily referred to 
as "Stalin World."  The case raises several interesting legal and 
moral questions and has helped raise awareness of intellectual 
property rights in Lithuania. End Summary. 
 
"Stalin World" comes to Lithuania 
--------------------------------- 
 
¶2. Grutas Park is a tongue-in-cheek theme park of Soviet-era statues 
and memorabilia founded by Lithuanian entrepreneur Viliumas 
Malinauskas. Located just outside of Druskininkai (a spa town 120 km 
southwest of Vilnius), "Stalin World" -- a common nickname for the 
park -- features playgrounds, a mini-zoo, cafes, and an entrance 
guarded by actors dressed as KGB or military officers who pull 
random visitors out of the queue for mock interrogations. 
Established in 2000, Grutas Park has become a major tourist 
attraction. 
 
Who owns tyranny's trash? 
------------------------- 
 
¶3. After Lithuania regained its independence in 1990, Lithuanian 
authorities removed most Soviet-era statues from their 
often-prominent locations and dumped them in different places around 
the country.  Later, after seeing the success of Soviet-themed 
sculpture gardens in other former Eastern Bloc countries, Lithuanian 
entrepreneurs started contemplating similar parks in Lithuania. 
Malinauskas won a government-organized tender in 1998 to collect 
several dozen of the discarded sculptures to build a private museum, 
and he opened Grutas Park two years later. 
 
¶4. Lithuania's Authors' Rights Protection Agency (LATGA), at the 
urging of seven Lithuanian artists who carved some of Grutas Park's 
sculptures during the Soviet occupation, began demanding royalties 
for these sculptors in December 2006.  The fact that the sculptors 
created these works while under contract with the Soviet government, 
LATGA's director told the press, is irrelevant:  "If a business is 
making a profit from displaying artwork, it has to pay fees to the 
artist."  LATGA claims that Grutas Park needs to pay royalties of 
six percent of the income it receives from the thousands of people 
visiting the park every year. 
 
¶5. Malinauskas refuses to pay, claiming that it is unfair for LATGA 
to demand royalties for items that the Lithuanian government 
essentially considered garbage at the time of the 1998 tender.  (The 
tender agreement apparently did not address the issue of authors' 
rights.)  In a press interview, Malinauskas said that the idea of 
paying royalties on works commissioned by an occupying power was 
"absurd," arguing that LATGA was demanding payment for "stone idols 
that were used to serve an occupying regime and terrorize people's 
minds for 50 years." 
 
Authors' rights, Soviet style 
----------------------------- 
 
¶6. One sculptor whose Soviet-era creations are on display at Grutas 
Parkas (but is not part of the group demanding royalties) sided with 
the park, but told us that the current legal situation is unclear. 
He said that sculptors hired by the Soviet Government signed a 
contract that gave them not only a one-time payment on delivery for 
their creations, but included guarantees for royalties, for example, 
if their works were photographed and shown in magazines.  When 
Lithuania gained independence, he said, the new government both 
created new laws and simply transferred others from the Soviet 
system.  The new Lithuanian government did not, however, transfer 
Soviet-era IPR laws, nor did it create laws that addressed 
Soviet-era art.  He told us that he thinks it is inappropriate for 
the artists who once sold their works to the Soviet government to 
request royalties today. 
 
Take them back, if they're so important 
--------------------------------------- 
 
¶7. Protesting against LATGA's claims, Malinauskas first turned off 
the broadcast of Soviet anthems in the park so the Soviet-era 
songwriters and recording artists could not claim royalties for his 
broadcast of their work.  He then removed the statues created by the 
seven protesting sculptors, placing them outside the park's fence, 
telling the sculptors that they were free to come claim their work 
if they wished.  To date, none has. 
 
Comment 
------- 
 
¶8. This dispute is unlikely to reach resolution anytime soon.  Even 
setting aside the difficult moral questions associated with those 
who worked for the Soviet regime, the case is difficult because it 
 
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raises complex legal issues that lawyers will battle out in the 
months to come.  Beyond the specifics of this case, however, this 
dispute is important because it has brought a public discussion 
about the importance of IPR protection to the front pages of 
Lithuania's national newspapers.  Only a few years ago, few 
Lithuanians would have understood what all the fuss was about, and 
LATGA probably would not have risked taking such a public stand on 
such a politically charged issue.  Now, public awareness of IPR 
protection has matured to the point where people are considering the 
issue as a point of law, and more than a few are willing to argue 
publicly that even artists that worked for the hated Soviet regime 
have rights, too. 
 
KELLY