I've found some impressive Soviet propaganda posters and I intend to have them printed and hanged in the living room.

This is for personal use but it got me thinking. Let's assume I wanted to start a poster business and sell reproduction material from the era: What is the copyright situation with art that was commissioned by the Soviet government for the purposes of public display?

  • @Petr please don’t answer in comments. – Dale M Jan 1 at 20:11
  • When was the work published? – user6726 Jan 2 at 0:39
  • @user6726 Feel free to target any time period. I don't have a particular one in mind. We could say, 1950-1991, if that's not too broad. – rath Jan 2 at 2:28
  • You are not reproducing them for research and teaching, right? – Trish Jul 31 at 15:41

According to the Civil Code a.1281, exclusive rights on the work belong to its author until 70 years (or 74 years if the author worked during WW2 or participated in WW2) after the year of their death (or after the year of their postmortem rehabilitation if that happened).

As for the personal use, article 1273 does allow that for posters. (And forbids reproducing architecture, databases, computer programs, books and musical scores, audio/video records (under some conditions))

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  • What happens if the author is unknown and the art was commissioned by the state? Commissioned work is work-for-hire. If the art explicitly lists the copyright as one of the USSR ministries, is it now claimed by the state of Russia or is it considered to be in the public domain? – grovkin Aug 31 at 16:38
  • @grovkin, if author is unknown, it's 70 years afther the year of publishing (a.1281 p.2). Commissioned work or not - it doesn't matter. Author is a person who created a work (a. 1228 p.1). Authorship is not transferable in any way (a. 1228 p.2). Copyright originally belongs to an author and then it gets passed to an employer according to a contract (a. 1228 p.3). – Abyx Aug 31 at 22:39

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