2012-08-22 10:04:00

Russian Society of Authors denies stealing Pussy Riot money

Moscow, August 22, Interfax - The Russian Society of Authors (RAO) has dismissed suspicions that it is ripping off royalties that are due to three members of the Pussy Riot punk band who have been convicted for a performance in a Moscow cathedral in February that was a protest against then prime minister Vladimir Putin's running for president.

Earlier on Tuesday, Mark Feigin, lawyer for one of the convicts, cited rumors that RAO might be collecting money for reproductions of Pussy Riot songs without passing it over to the band.

"RAO does collect royalties for the public performance of pieces of music, and then it distributes them on the basis of reports from the users. None of the reports from users have so far contained any information about the performance of Pussy Riot songs," RAO spokeswoman Marina Muradova told Interfax.

She added that, if RAO did receive a report that any of the Pussy Riot songs had been performed, the band would be paid for it.

She explained that copyright owners automatically receive royalties for their work, and that "it doesn't matter to us whether it is a member of the Pussy Riot or Romashka (Russian for "Camomile") band."

"We haven't yet been able to obtain confirmation of this information," but if the rumors are confirmed, the band, as the owner of the Pussy Riot brand name, would ban the illegal collection of money for its songs by RAO, said Feigin.

"The girls are not against anyone publishing various symbols of the band or even performing their songs. But only in the event that such a person doesn't obtain any commercial benefit from this or if they use the revenue for further struggles against the inadequacies of the political system," Feigin said.

He said Pussy Riot had filed for the registration of its brand name in April this year, and that the registration process would be finished within the next few months. "The purpose of it is to avoid the name of the band being used in dubious actions or projects of various kinds," the lawyer said.

The three convicts owe their sentence of two years' imprisonment, passed by a Moscow court on August 17, for a song in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in which they asked the Virgin Mary to "throw out" Putin.