Alexander Tuzov’s case on hold until April 13
Penza, 6 April 2016. PenzaNews. The preliminary Penza region Arbitration Court session on the case of the PenzaNews agency founding body against an individual businessman Alexander Tuzov on recovery of compensation for 74 facts of illegal use of copyrighted work has been temporarily placed on hold.
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In an opening of the session that took place on Wednesday, April 6, judge Svetlana Nikonova announced that eight more persons were involved in the case as interveners with one of the litigants.
According to her, all eight of them provided their statements on the case wherein they claim that their photos were made under job agreements and first published on the website of PenzaNews agency formed by the company “VolgaInterMedia.”
Furthermore, the session revealed that the defendant did not provide his statement of defense to the complainant.
Earlier, a representative of the complainant fully confirmed the earlier stated claims, and pointed out that Alexander Tuzov illegally used the photos made by the PenzaNews staff.
In his new court statement on the case, Alexander Tuzov once again claimed that “Alexander Tuzov’s Blog” in LiveJournal, which had been removed in February 2016, does not belong to him, and noted that it was “nearly a clone” of the website where he currently works as the editor-in-chief.
“The electronic media has, in accordance with the law of the federation on the media [sic], three authorities. The online media, or, more accurately, well, electronic media as they say in Russia. These are: me the administrator, me the editor-in-chief, me whatever the third one is. Well, shortly I am one... Like in that newspaper – there are several of them. Oh! Me the editorial as well,” Alexander Tuzov said.
“I am the editor-in-chief, I am the administrator and I am the media owner as a physical entity,” the defendant added.
In his speech on the blog and the website registered as a media source, Alexander Tuzov frequently resorted to using foreign words and technical terms.
In an attempt to clarify Alexander Tuzov’s role in the online media in question, the judge asked him about other workers of the editorial office. In return, the defendant stated that he works there alone, and while he had several interns some time ago, there is currently nobody else there.
“No. Nobody else in the staff. [...] Several students [...] worked on the background news reel, as we call it. It was about... Maybe 5-6 people went through a short internship – two-three weeks. They – they needed internship, and I kind of cooperated with them. That is, the staff, there is currently nobody in the staff. I write it myself, I am a writing editor. Nearly all publications are exclusive – these are my personal materials,” he explained.
Alexander Tuzov also suggested that using photos created and owned by another party should not be shunned upon, even though they required a certain amount of work and funding.
“[...] The existence practice of the media, including in Penza, taking – the Internet works this way [...] – the photos taken from the Internet are very frequently taken by the journalists, they are copied. That is, somebody copies it, I will show it to the court on a laptop, somebody took it, reported on the ‘Penza-Press’ website, then it goes out, and another source shows up for this photo online ‘Penza-Press,’ not the copyright owner. [...] That means, anyone can take a photo online that has no copyright owner mention on it and post it. Very many people are doing that in Penza,” the defendant said.
He also expressed his indignation over the fact that he is “being published with this unpleasant face” and “constantly being showered by dung,” without explaining the meaning of his words.
“I do not like it when some are publishing me on the main page with a half-drunk face and writing some dirty stuff,” Alexander Tuzov said.
In turn, the representative of the defendant once again stressed the attention on the main point of the court case against Alexander Tuzov, who had no legal rights to use PenzaNews photos without the right owner’s permission and so far provided no proof for doing otherwise.
After hearing out both parties, the judge decided to put the preliminary court case on hold until April 13.
As PenzaNews reported earlier, in January 2016, “VolgaInterMedia” initiated a case in the Penza region Arbitration Court against the individual businessman Alexander Tuzov on recovery of compensation of 3 million rubles overall for illegal use of copyrighted photos on two websites.
The first preliminary court hearing took place on February 8. Even though the accused party had been addressed a hearing summons containing the date and time of the hearing, and a request of arbitration, neither he nor his representative appeared in the court. At the same time, the complainant presented a package of documents in confirmation of illegal use of copyrighted work by the accused party. As a result, the court postponed the preliminary hearing until March 2.
Alexander Tuzov petitioned to familiarize with materials of the case on February 9.
On the evening of the same day, the PenzaNews editor-in-chief Pavel Polosin, who earlier suggested that Alexander Tuzov was likely to play victim, received a text message on his personal mobile phone with an offer to “settle the issue out of court.”
On February 15, the president of “VolgaInterMedia” Ivan Malikov met with Alexander Tuzov on the latter’s initiative, and offered him to settle the issue out of court for half the amount, with an option to pay it in installments; however, Alexander Tuzov declined, saying he does not have the money.
On the next day, Ivan Malikov expressed an opinion that the failure of out-of-court settlement talks forced the administrator of “Alexander Tuzov’s Blog” to delete his LiveJournal account. The president of “VolgaInterMedia” said he welcomes the decision, although it will not help the blogger in question escape the liability.
In late February, the complainant updated the claims to Alexander Tuzov and listed 74 facts of illegal use of photos instead of 60, for the same expected compensation amount of 3 million rubles.
During the preliminary court session on March 2, Alexander Tuzov claimed that he is not the owner of “Alexander Tuzov’s Blog” in LiveJournal, which had been removed in February 2016. The aforementioned blog contained provocative information that concerned such people as some of the high-ranking officials of the Penza region.
On the evening of the same day, Sergei Padalkin, head of the press service in the CPRF Penza region committee, expressed his opinion over the court session by writing “Neighborhood fool shows himself in Arbitration Court today” in his Twitter.
On March 3, members of the media community discussed the wording and phrasing choices by Alexander Tuzov with their colleagues at PenzaNews. In particular, they pointed out that during the court hearing on March 2, Alexander Tuzov used such poorly-chosen phrases as “[people are] recording [rather than writing] in their newspaper” and “[I am] not laying [rather than ‘lying’].” According to certain journalists, these mistakes reveal the true literacy level of the person who is employed as an editor-in-chief of a registered online media and also poses himself as a local political analyst.