The history of the UNESCO Chair on Copyright and Other Intellectual Property Rights dates back to June 1998, when the Director General of UNESCO and the President of the Institute of International Law and Economics named after A. S. Griboedov (IILE) signed an Agreement on the establishment of the Chair. Over the last years the UNESCO Chair has become the regional center of international cooperation on the issues of Intellectual Property Rights and Information Law in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), having established its branches in a number of subjects of the Russian Federation (the Tatarstan Republic and others). It has assisted in the establishment of similar UNESCO Chairs in Belarus, Georgia and Moldova.
On March 20, 2009 the UNESCO Chair changed the host university. At present the UNESCO Chair is a scientific and methodological center at the Higher School of Economics.
The UNESCO Chair conducts its work in cooperation with the RF Commission on UNESCO issues, with Sector of Culture and Sector of Communication and Information of the UNESCO Secretariat as well as with the UNESCO Moscow Office and the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education.
The activity of the Chair has a comprehensive character and covers Copyright and Neighboring Rights, Patent Law and other spheres of Industrial Property, as well as Information Law, including Mass Media Law, Cyberspace Law etc.
The Chairholder is the Honorable Lawyer of the Russian Federation, Doctor of Law, Professor Mikhail A. Fedotov. He has many years of teaching experience in different Law Schools. In the 1990s he has served as a Minister of Press and Information of the RF, a Director General of the Russian Agency of Intellectual Property under the RF President, and he was the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to UNESCO, with the diplomatic rank of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. He is one of the authors of the Russian Mass Media Law and one of the creators of the Copyright Law along with some other federal acts.
Today the UNESCO Chair is a large scientific team (18 Doctors of Law and 43 Candidates of Law) uniting leading experts working in different universities and research institutions, federal legislative and executive bodies, law firms, copyright societies, in different regions and even in different countries (including members from Belarus and Ukraine, the United States and Germany). They share common interest in the field of Intellectual Property Rights, Information Law, Media Law etc. Due to joint research activities of the UNESCO Chair members in 1998—2008 it has gained the position of a leading expert center in the Russian Federation. At the same time, the administrative staff of the UNESCO Chair is considerably small and consists of only five employees.
The main spheres of the UNESCO Chair’s activities in the abovementioned areas are as follows:
- conducting basic scientific researches and publishing their results in the annual Proceedings of the Intellectual Property bulletin (nine volumes published so far), as well as on the Chair’s website www.unescochair.ru;
- hosting conferences, seminars, presentations and other activities aimed to disseminate knowledge and technology. Among the recent events are the conferences on Collective Management of Composers’ and Visual Artists’ Rights, on the Prospects for the Introduction of Creative Commons System, on Media Law, on the Problems of Law Enforcement in Connection with the Adoption of the Fourth part of the Civil Code etc.;
- promoting the development of skills for scientific activities for educators, students and postgraduates of HSE, training graduate students on intellectual property right issues, and information law;
- popularization of contemporary approaches to the creation, protection and use of intellectual property, development of information society and drafting of the law regulating the Internet and traditional media. It focuses in particular on the annual Days of Intellectual Property in the Russian Federation» (23—26 April), which have taken place at the federal level under the initiative and with active participation of the UNESCO Chair since 2003;
- rendering assistance to profile committees and the commissions of chambers of the Russian Parliament, to the RF Ministry of Communications and Mass Media, RF Audit Chamber, as well as RF Constitutional, Supreme and Superior Arbitration Courts, RF Public Chamber and other state bodies in the development of statutory acts and formation of the law-enforcement practice;
- providing scientific consultation to different organizations and individuals, whose activity deals with the creation, use and protection of intellectual and information products;
- creating original educational programs on the basis of the special teaching program on the Copyright prepared by UNESCO (now we own 24 authors’ courses, and we have the experience of organizing joint lecture courses with invited lecturers from different universities of EU countries);
- cooperation with UNESCO, WIPO and other UN agencies as well as with the OSCE and the Council of Europe within the Chair’s sphere of activities;
- establishing links with universities and scientific organizations in Russia and overseas, engaged in teaching and research;
- promotion of regional and international inter-university cooperation in the development of teaching and research;
- the analysis and systematization of existing legislation, enforcement practice and research results;
- other activities within the UNITWIN/UNESCO Chairs Program.