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Nabokov Suit Accents Copyright Woes

Published: November 14, 2003 (Issue # 919)



  • Dmitry Nabokov
    Photo: Alexander Belenky / The St. Petersburg Times

The Nabokov Estate in Russia has filed a suit against Nezavisimaya Gazeta for publishing several texts by Vladimir Nabokov without permission and defaming the author's name.

The publication in question is "Nabokov About Nabokov Etc.: Interviews, Reviews and Essays," printed in Russian by the Nezavisimaya Gazeta publishing house in 2002.

Olga Voronina, official representative of the Nabokov estate in Russia, says that the book is actually a reprint of Vladimir Nabokov's English-language "Strong Opinions," a collection of letters, interviews and essays, first published in 1973 in the United States, for which Nezavisimaya Gazeta had not received permission.

"They didn't even apply for permission," Voronina said. "Although there were some cuts and some additions, the book is clearly a reprint."

The case was filed in Moscow's Basmanny Court on Tuesday, near the registered office of Nezavisimaya Gazeta, which had no comment on the dispute.

However, Anna Raiskaya, managing editor of the publishing department of Nezavisimaya Gazeta, was quoted by Delovoi Peterburg newspaper this week as saying the publisher had done nothing wrong.

"All the materials, including illustrations, come from magazines and newspapers," she was quoted as saying. "Furthermore, our contract with Nikolai Melnikov, who compiled the book and wrote the introduction, says that he bears all responsibility for it."

Nabokov, considered one of the greatest writers of the 20th century in any language, was born into a well-off St. Petersburg family and fled Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. He spent years in Europe before taking up a career as a teacher in the United States. He spent the last years of his life in Montreux, Switzerland, dying in 1977.

Nabokov's most famous work is "Lolita," the tale of a man's attraction to preadolescent girl.

His son, Dmitry, is in charge of the author's literary and financial heritage. The estate's representative in Russia takes care of his affairs in this country; Dmitry decided that the proceeds from Russian sales of Nabokov's books should be donated to the city's Nabokov museum.

Vadim Uskov, head of St. Petersburg law firm Uskov and Partners, said that although the book was published last year, his company had been trying to settle the dispute out of court.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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