More than twelve years after the 2007 redesign that has changed the iconic nameplate of Politika, Serbia’s newspaper of record and the oldest daily newspaper still in circulation in the Balkans is now to change its banner back, as per the recent judgement of the Appellate Court in Belgrade.
The old nameplate consisted of the newspaper’s name in a recognizable font, in the upper left corner of the front page, and a box containing names, military ranks and dates of death of four members of the Ribnikar family, newspaper original founders, editors and directors, in the upper right.
The Appellate Court has found the nameplate to be a copyrighted work created by Vladislav Ribnikar, newspaper original founder, who designed the original letters, and his younger brother and Politika’s director, Slobodan F. Ribnikar, who added the box containing names, military ranks and days of death of Ribnikars. Following Slobodan F. Ribnikar’s death in 1924, the nameplate kept the same form until the redesign, with only change being the addition of the name of Slobodan’s son Vladislav Sl. Ribnikar, Politika’s director himself as well, after his death in 1955. In the 2007 redesign, the box was removed from the front page, names of the Ribnikars moved to the imprint, while the newspaper’s name was centered on the page with the shape of one of its letters (L) changed.
The fact that the former nameplate is a copyrighted work was also recognized in an agreement signed in 1997 between the surviving members of the Ribnikar family as the successors of the original founders and former owners and the predecessor of Politika A.D., state owned company that has assigned the Politika publishing rights to Politika Newspapers and Magazines d.o.o., a joint venture originally created between Politika A.D. and WAZ-Mediagroup, whose share is now held by the East Media Group, a company registered in Moscow, Russian Federation. In the same agreement, the predecessor of Politika A.D. has obliged not to change the concept of the nameplate.
The Appellate Court, in its decision delivered upon the appeal of Darko Ribnikar, Vladislav Sl. Ribnikar’s son and Slobodan F. Ribnikar’s grandson, a journalist and director of Politika until 2003, has found that the current publisher, Politika Newspapers and Magazines d.o.o. has infringed the moral right of creators of the nameplate as a copyrighted work. According to the Serbian Copyright Act, moral rights, do last even after the expiration of the economic rights tied to copyrights, and include the right of protection of the work’s integrity, as well as the right to oppose unbecoming exploitation of the work, which the Appellate Court has found were infringed in this particular case.
Politika Newspapers and Magazines d.o.o. is due to change its nameplate back in a fortnight.