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The given reason is: PD-Soviet is incompatible with the copyright policy of Wikimedia Commons that requires freely licensed images only. Images published before 1973 in the Soviet Union are not public domain because:

  • Russia joined the Berne Convention on May 13, 1995: Since 1993, Russia had a copyright law that placed Soviet/Russian works published after 1943 (or 1939 for veterans of WWII) or where the author died later under copyright. The Berne Convention very clearly states that any works protected in a joining country on the date it joins become protected in the other member countries. Thus a "pre-1973" rule on Soviet works outside Russia is invalid since 1995/1996, in the U.S. and also in other members of the Berne Convention.
  • The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation from June 19, 2006. decided (decision (in Russian)) that the 50-year copyright term defined in the Russian copyright law of 1993 (No. 5351-1) was retroactive and even restored the copyright on works on which the old 25-year copyright from the old Soviet code had elapsed.
  • There was a legal case on that matter in the US: The case Films by Jove, Inc. v. Berov, 154 F. Supp. 2nd (2nd Cir. 2001) and 250 F. Supp. 2nd 432 (2nd Cir. 2003). This was a complicated case about a copyright infringement (committed in the U.S.) on Soviet cartoons. The case was about many different Soviet animated films published from 1936 to 1991. Some of these films were of Cheburashka, which is considered by many people in Russia a kind of national property; the childrens' books that served as the base for these films were written by Eduard Uspensky in 1966. In that case (154 F. Supp. 2nd at 448) the court clearly stated that these were "restored works", i.e. works that had their copyright in the U.S. restored under the URAA (17 USC 104A). (see From Itar-TASS to Films by Jove: The Conflict of Laws Revolution in International Copyright)

For further details see Template talk:PD-Soviet and Commons:Deletion_requests/Template:PD-Soviet.

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