In this paper I will analyze how the legal status of films produced in the Soviet Union changed after the collapse of the country and what effects that change has for Soviet film as cultural heritage today. While Soviet films are a significant part of the cultural heritage of the independent states which emerged after the collapse of the USSR, they also represent a potential source of income for Russia and recently established countries in the Soviet bloc. Since the fall of the Soviet Union the copyright status of Soviet films has been controversial. This paper confronts and compares Soviet film copyright policies with those later established in the successor states within a historical context. Can copyright law protect or frustrate the appreciation of Soviet films as cultural heritage in the future?