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Artist Volodymyr Kuznetsov has taken legal action against the Mystetskii Arsenal (Kiev, Ukraine)

May 19, 2015

strashnyj-sud-u-pecherskomu-sudi6-copie

UPDATES

30/11/2015

On September 9th the  Pechersk District Court made a decision in the civil case initiated by Volodymyr Kuznetsov against the “Mystetskii Arsenal,” regarding the copyright on the artist’s destroyed mural in the institutions. These decisions partially satisfied the artist’s claim, including moral damages he recovered.

The appeal will take place on December 3rd, at 11:30 in Solomenskiy Appeal Court of Kyiv. The court ruled in favor of only a part of the artist’s claims. He was granted  1,000 (one thousand) hryvnas 00 kopiyka (around 50 $) for moral damages. These were awarded because the court ruled that the Arsenal did not give the artist an opportunity to make a photo documentation before destroying his work. The court decision did not mention anything about copyrights damages.

Volodymyr Kuznetsov is further requesting the following:

1.To officially recognize the actions of the State Enterprise “National Cultural Art and Museum Complex “Mystetskyi Arsenal” of painting over the work by Volodymyr Kuznetsov “Koliivshyna. The Last Judgement” as unlawful, and a breach of intellectual property rights of the author.

2.To be awarded 1,000 (one thousand) hryvnas 00 kopiyka in damages and 121,800 (one hundred twenty one thousand eight hundred) hryvnas 00 kopiyka for material damages from the State Enterprise “National Cultural Art and Museum Complex “Mystetskyi Arsenal”.

3.That the State Enterprise “National Cultural Art and Museum Complex “Mystetskyi Arsenal” publish, at their own cost, information about the breach of copyright in regard to Volodymyr Kuznetsov, the grounds for this breach, as well as corresponding apologies in mass media, in particular in Ukrainska Pravda, within a 2 (two) month period starting from the date of the court’s decision.

4.That the State Enterprise “National Cultural Art and Museum Complex “Mystetskyi Arsenal” pay related legal costs.

30/06/2015:

Present at the hearing were the plaintiff (Volodymyr Kuznetsov), the plaintiff’s representative (the lawyer), three representatives of the defendant (Mystetskii Arsenal) and a third person (Natalia Zabolotnaya). The Arsenal representatives objected to the claim: “… the plaintiff kept photos [of the work] and this was consistent with the degree of curtesy which the law requires of us: to provide the plaintiff, as author of the work, the opportunity to take a photo of it. He kept his work, he can further reproduce it, or use it otherwise … one can clearly see the work, what is being discussed in it, and there can be no question about this… “

The defendant’s representative was asked whether he thinks a painted work and a photograph of that work are the object of the same copyright. He explained that it is the same work, but photographed, because there are different media.

The defendant’s representative could not cite clear provisions for organizing exhibitions in the Arsenal to the representative’s plaintiff. In the absence of the possibility to present such protocols, the plaintiff’s representative expressed the wish to have a future conversation with Natalia Zabolotnaya, about the possibility of establishing such provisions.

The hearing was adjourned until September 9, 2015, when additional disclosures will be revealed.

21/05/2015:

At the court hearing, only the plaintiff (Volodymyr Kuznetsov) and his representative (the lawyer) were present. The other people involved in the case did not present themselves before the court, although they had been duly informed. On May 19th, a request was filed by the third party (N. Zabolotnaya) and her representative to postpone examining the details of case to another date. The hearing was then adjourned to June 30.

_________________________________________________________________________

The lawsuit of Volodymyr Kuznetsov against the State Enterprise Mystetskyi Arsenal begins on 21 May 2015 in Kyiv Pechersk District Court. The artist says the action relates to the destruction of the artwork “Koliivshyna. The Last Judgement”. In July 2013, it was painted over with black paint at the order of the Mystetskyi Arsenal’s Director [Nataliya Zabolotna].

Volodymyr Kuznetsov is requesting the following:

1. Recognize the actions of the State Enterprise “National Cultural Art and Museum Complex “Mystetskyi Arsenal” of painting over the work by Volodymyr Kuznetsov “Koliivshyna. The Last Judgement” as unlawful and a breach of intellectual property rights of the author.

2. Recover 1,000 (one thousand) hryvnas 00 kopiyka in damages and 121,800 (one hundred twenty one thousand eight hundred) hryvnas 00 kopiyka for material damages from the State Enterprise “National Cultural Art and Museum Complex “Mystetskyi Arsenal”.

3. Require the State Enterprise “National Cultural Art and Museum Complex “Mystetskyi Arsenal” to publish, at their own cost, information about the breach of copyright in regard to Volodymyr Kuznetsov, the grounds for this breach as well as corresponding apologies in mass media, in particular in Ukrainska Pravda within a 2 (two) month period starting from the date the court decision is enacted.

4. Obligate the State Enterprise “National Cultural Art and Museum Complex “Mystetskyi Arsenal” to pay related legal costs.

21.05.2015

12:00

Plaintiff:

Volodymyr Kuznetsov Oleksandrovych

Defender: State Enterprise “National Cultural Art and Museum Complex “Mystetskyi Arsenal”, third party: Nataliya Zabolotna Pylypivna

on recognition of unlawful actions, compensation of moral damage and payment of compensation for copyright breach

42A Khreshatyk Str., Kyiv, Kyiv oblast, 1001

Civil cases

“This is not a question of personal relationship or personal attitudes. I accepted the personal apology of the Arsenal’s Head and forgave the insult. However, the thing here is not about apologies, but about addressing the public with a social and political gesture. With this trial, I want to draw public attention to the problem of artist-institution relations and to the legal vulnerability of the workers in the arts and culture when dealing with culture functionaries,” said Kuznetsov.

The artist believes that the trial will initiate positive changes in the cultural field and will help to build fairer and clearer relations with workers in the arts and institutions. “I also want to raise questions about the narrowing interpretation of the notion of censorship in our country, about the lack of legal obligations even in state exhibition spaces, not to mention the private galleries,” Volodymyr Kuznetsov believes. In his opinion, since there is no clear definition of censorship in Ukrainian law, the trial that he initiates will allow to classify future censorship issues more clearly.

Link to the full text in Ukrainian and Russian:

“The Last Judgement” in Pechersk Court or why I am initiating a trial.

 Vladimir Kuznetsov's work

Volodymyr Kuznetsov’s work “KOLIYIVSHCHYNA. JUDGEMENT DAY” after the censorship
© Volodymyr Kuznetsov / Facebook

For more background on this case read Ukrainian Museum Director Destroys Critical Painting Ahead Of President’s Visit.

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