Scandal spreads around Alexander Vertinsky songs published on CD "XX century Best Songs. 1900-1920".
It came out of print June 25. Two songs by Alexander Vertinsky were on the album: "Purple Negro" and "What I have to say". El-Junction Records, the publishing company, assures that legal copyright was already expired by 1982. So the songs can be published without the permission from Vertinsky heirs and without paying royalties. Says the company executive, two weeks before master copy was send into pint the company connected Vertinsky heirs and notified them about he album to be published, and also asked their advise considering cover design. Vertinsky family, also states the company, orally assured company director that they have no financial or other claims. The only demand they had concerned recording quality: it should be at least not worse than on Vertinsky CDs already on sale.
Several days later there was a phone call in the office of the company director Nikolai V. Kobliakov. Irina Tulubieva, the Vertinsky family lawyer, demanded from the company , as Kobliakov tells the story, granting her personally $ 300 'for not stirring up the trouble'. El-Junction Records ignored the threat and did printed the album. Soon after Tulubieva called again and accordin to the information from the company, asked now for $3000 for 'solving the problem. In case of refuse she promised publishing articles in the newspapers, which can ruin the reputation of the company and Nikolai Kobliakov personally.
Really, June 25 an article appeared in MK the most popular Moscow daily newspaper. The article affirmed that Vertinsky heirs demanded to sue the director and executives of the recording company (article 146 of Russian Criminal Code, i.e. copyright law violation). The CD was said to be on the counters of the record stores. In the name of Vertinsky family Irina Tulubieva accused the company of poor sound quality on the CD, and also of putting Vertinsky songs together with other musical pieces representing the epoch, but of much lower artistic value, which she regarded as humiliation of the memory of the singer. "As the songs were published without permission from Lydia, Marianna and Anastasia Vertinsky, - says the article, - which is a violation of a copyright law, the company is threatened not only by criminal prosecution. Heirs insisted on confiscating all the copies of CD printed and demanded a large money compensation". Neverthesess, El-Junction Records insists that not a single copy of the disk was on sale. Economic Crimes Departement checked the case by request from interregional Gagarin's Office of Public Prosecutor and found no violations of law.
August 27 the case was opened by the South-West Moscow Regional Office of Public Prosecutor by request from Tulubieva. August 30 El-Junction Records appealed to Moscow city Office of Public Prosecutor. The company also want to appeal to open the counter-claim, requesting the protection of the business reputation.
Legally the problem can be condensed into the simple question: was or was not the copyright expired? If it is, no demands from Tulubieva are possible. If to discuss ethics and human relations beyond the laws, respect and care of Alexander Vertinsky relatives, the question also has a simple solution: do Lydia, Marianna and Anastasia Vertinsky personally agree with the quality and compilation of the CD?
The situation attracts attention because it' so typical for Russia nowadays, and meanwhile both sides are ready for opened discussions and explanations of their positions. Let's wait for the court decision. We will inform about it immediately.