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News Outlet Does Not Intend to Pay Compensation to Armenian Writer for Republishing Content

The Court of General Jurisdiction of Kentron and Nork Marash administrative districts presided over by Judge Karine Petrosyan heard arguments on Friday, September 11 in writer Arpi Voskanyan's copyright infringement lawsuit against Armenian news outlet 1in.am. 

At start of the hearing the plaintiff motioned for the hearing to be filmed by media representatives; however Judge Petrosyan denied the motion at 1in.am attorney Levon Sahakyan's objection. 

Arpi Voskanyan claims that without her prior consent, 1in.am republished one of her political riddles that was originally published in the local daily Haykakan Zhamanak. The riddle was accompanied by a photo of Prosperous Armenia Party then leader Gagik Tsarukyan. The site also announced a contest for music to the text in the riddle, promising the winner a prize of $1,500.

The plaintiff is asking for compensation in the symbolic amount of 200,000 AMD (about $415) and to remove the republished piece from the site. 

“Of course, that's not the amount of actual damages I've sustained; however, that's the maximum amount as provided by law,” Voskanyan said.

Defense attorney Sahakyan stated the claim should be rejected, especially with regard to the amount of damages. Regardless of the verdict, Sahakyan said, the management of 1in.am is going to remove the publication; however, they do not intend to pay any compensation. 

The attorney announced that the publication of the riddle with a certain person's photo, in this case – with Gagik Tsarukyan's, can not mean that the editor is limiting the rights of the readers to give their own interpretation to it. The plaintiff, however, insists that it contradicts the very concept of her riddles.

The RA law “On Copyright and Related Rights,” Levon Sahakyan added, has been changed since the publication by 1in.am of the riddle; thus, according to him, it cannot have a retrospective effect. 

Note, however, that laws expanding the rights of citizens can be retrospective.

Verdict in the case will be issued on September 28.