MOSCOW, April 17 - RAPSI. The Moscow District Federal Commercial Court has suspended until April 26 its hearing of an appeal filed by the Astrel publishing house against court decision awarding Terra publisher $285,600.

Terra publishing house sued Astrel, part of the AST publishing company, for allegedly illegally publishing the novels of the late Russian sci-fi writer Alexander Belyayev.

The Ninth Commercial Court of Appeals passed its judgment on January 31, awarding the plaintiff 8.5 million rubles ($285,600) rather than the initial claim for 551.5 million rubles ($18.5 million).

The appeals court reversed the Moscow Commercial Court's adverse judgment pronounced on February 14, 2011. The court then dismissed Terra's claim.

The plaintiff maintained that it owned exclusive rights to the disputed novels. Meanwhile, Astrel stated that the copyright protection term had expired and it had published the novels legally.

The plaintiff sought to recover compensation for twice of the price of each illegally published copy. Terra claimed compensation for books Astrel published in 2008.

The amount of compensation was calculated on the basis of the cost of the six volume set of Belyayev's novels. However, the court dismissed these calculations and thereby ruled that the plaintiff failed to prove the claimed compensation.

Both the plaintiff and the defendant challenged the ruling.

Founded in 1990, AST is one of the largest publishing companies in Russia. It accounts for 20 percent of the Russian book market, according to its website. AST publishes over 800 new books monthly.

Terra filed a lawsuit in August 2009. It claimed to own the rights for the popular works of Belyayev.