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Piracy law to be extended to music, software and literature

0 3 March 2014

Sergey Zheleznyak, Vice-Speaker of the State Duma, has proposed amendments to the anti-piracy law which extend it to all forms of copyrighted content - previously the law only protected the film industry. 

The amendment, a copy of which was obtained by Vedomosti, allows copyright holders to seek to block sites which illegally use their content. Since August last year, blocking sites has been used as an interim measure: copyright holders can complain to the Moscow District Court that a site was in violation of copyright, and the court can then insist that the content in questions be removed from the site. If the site does not comply, then the operators can block access to the content for 15 days while the copyright holders file a claim.

In addition to extending the reach of the piracy law, Zheleznyak’s amendment clarifies the procedure for blocking sites. Operators will be obliged to block not only “specifically related content”, but “all illegal content” as explained in the explanatory notes in the bill. If the operator doesn’t have the technological capability to limit access to only the illegally-distributed content, then it must block access to the whole resource. At the same time the bill exempts operators from liability to the copyright holders and users for restricting access. 

Representatives of the music industry, book publishers and software developers mostly approve of the extension of the law. 

Leonid Agronov, Director of the National Music Industry Federation, commented that 

"The effectiveness of the anti-piracy law was assessed during the course of 7 months, and during this time had a hugely positive impact. As the Culture Ministry has pointed out, during this time the number of individuals legally consuming online content has increased by 30%. This shows that the law is effective and should be extend to other types of intellectual property"

Vice-President of the Russian Publishing Association Oleg Novikov was also supportive, although he is not familiar with the details of the amendments, explaining that

“we publishers have for a long time insisted on the inclusion of written publications being included in the anti-piracy law, for us it is a very important problem; it is actually a matter of survival for the industry. On the whole publishers are satisfied with the blocking procedure currently in place for films and series.”

However, some internet companies are less welcoming of the changes. One leading civil servant told Vedomosti warned that the announcement was not timely, and said that it had split rights-holders and internet companies. 

Sergey Plugaterenko, director of the Russian Association of Electronic Communications also hinted at this. 

“The industry has been in discussions with the authorities about this initiative for the past six months, and is partly supportive of the policy, at least with regard to amendments to the civil code. However, the changes that we had agreed on do not appear in this edited version, and so it needs more work”. 

Source: Vedomosti

Top image via Shutterstock

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