Russian Publisher Looking to Sell Pussy Riot Book Without the Band’s Consent

The book is mash-up of blog posts and already-published interviews with the band

Pussy Riot
Photo by Igor Mukhin via Wikipedia/Commons

A Russian publisher is planning to cash in on the Pussy Riot fame by releasing a book that was unknowingly authored by three members of the punk group.

According to , Russian publisher Algoritm has used blog posts written by members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich and old interviews to pull together the book, Pussy Riot: What Was It.

The Russian political rock band first made headlines earlier this year after Tolokonnikova, Alyokhina and Samutsevich performed a “punk prayer” in a Russian Orthodox cathedral calling for the Virgin Mary to chase away Russian president Vladimir Putin last February. In August, the trio was convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred. While Samutsevich was released on probation in October, the other two members have begun serving their two-year jail terms.

The Russian daily Kommersant reported that Algoritm and the band’s former lawyers were in talks about a book deal but fell through. The daily also suggested there could be an out-of-court settlement for the band.

Pussy Riot may not be the only group Algoritm should worry about. New Times Magazine reporter Zoya Svetova says she is looking to take up action against the publisher for the unauthorized use of her interview with Samutsevich.

So far, there is no official release date for the book or knowledge if lawsuits could block its publication.

For a band that is against commercialism, their run in with the Russian law has garnered them a lot of potential revenue. According to , experts say the members could find fortune from tours, films, documentaries and recording contracts even though the band doesn’t even have an official album.

In addition, the Pussy Riot name has not been trademark as the members are against branding of any kind. As a result, the members have no control over who uses their name and the unauthorized book is just one of the ways outsiders are cashing in.

Not only are Pussy Riot T-shirts widely available on the streets of Russia, they are also being sold online by none other than Madonna, just one of the group’s many vocal celebrity supporters. All proceeds from the tees will allegedly go towards band’s legal fees and whatever else they would like the funds to go, though Samutsevich told Reuters she hasn’t seen a penny and knows nothing about the deal.

The singer’s spokesperson insists Madonna has permission to sell the mercy and credits the confusion to the ongoing dispute between the band’s different legal representation.

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