Tuzov case suspended until May 18
Penza, 11 May 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 for a week.
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During the first main court session held on Wednesday, May 11, the complainant and its representatives fully confirmed the claims, and once again stated the position that the defendant had no legal rights to use the photos taken by PenzaNews staff and originally published on the news agency’s website.
Moreover, the complainant provided legally based arguments confirming that the individual businessman Alexander Tuzov is the party that must act as the defendant in the case, as it is he as the founder and the editor-in-chief of the website registered as a media source who holds the responsibility for any and all information published in any section of the website in question.
In return, describing his website, the defendant claimed it to be an allegedly non-commercial project that provides him no income. However, after the parties present at the court inspected the website, Alexander Tuzov was forced to make a public admission that the website brings him “miserly income” through advertising.
In addition, the defendant’s notion that the copyrighted photos were published by users through the “Click And Make News” section of the website also did not hold the critique. As the complainant pointed out, the section in question has only 10 news entries, all dated in 2016, and the owner of the website has the necessary technical capabilities to mask the origin of its own posts as somebody else’s.
The head of the editorial office is the person responsible for the news published by a registered media source, stressed the PenzaNews editor-in-chief Pavel Polosin.
“According to the Media Law, an editor-in-chief is the person who is heading the media source’s editorial office and making final decisions related to its production and publication,” he said, adding that the Russian legislation outlines an editor-in-chief as the very person responsible for its media source’s adherence to the Media Law.
In turn, the PenzaNews editor Svetlana Katysheva, which acted as a third party in the court session, pointed out that each of the photos published on the news agency website required a significant amount of work by its staff.
In a comment about the home page of the website managed by Alexander Tuzov, Pavel Polosin also noted that the defendant has no rights to use most of the photos seen on the website.
“He is borrowing them not just from us, but from other websites as well,” the PenzaNews editor-in-chief clarified, confirming his claims with examples, and suggested that other parties may soon join in with their copyright infringement claims against Alexander Tuzov.
In turn, the defendant once again claimed that he finds it acceptable to use photos created by other parties, and expressed an opinion that “all agencies, most of them, are using photos that are 80-90% borrowed from others.”
During his speech, he was once again ambiguous, alternating between confirming and rejecting the facts of copyright infringement with each subsequent statement.
“The legislator and the copyright holder, your honor, demands to follow the copyright laws, which are expressed through hyperlinks to the photos […] And if you see the photos used there – there are almost none of them there now, after the case began – all photos were with links. […] All the requirements were fulfilled,” Alexander Tuzov said.
However, just several minutes later he rejected his previous notion in an answer to a complainant’s question.
“I did not use the photos by PenzaNews,” Alexander Tuzov claimed.
After hearing out the arguments by both parties, the judge Svetlana Novikova announced that the case will be delayed for exactly seven days until Wednesday, May 18.
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.
The next preliminary court session in the row took place on April 6, when 8 non-party intervenors confirmed that they produced the photos under their job agreements and first published on the website of PenzaNews agency.
In another preliminary court session held on April 13, the court declined the complainant’s request to involve more witnesses in the case.