Russia: a much controversial anti-piracy internet law is now in place

Russia: a much controversial anti-piracy internet law is now in place

A strict law intended to fight against movie piracy in Russia that involves blocking illegal websites, came into force on August 1st, despite the protests of the key players of the Internet sector.

According to the new law text, issued on July 2nd by Vladimir Putin, a website offering pirated movies or videos can now be fully blocked by the Moscow City Court, after a simple request is launched by the copyright owner – even through a simple mail, without waiting for a formal complaint.

The copyright owner then has 2 weeks to formally register his complaint with the court, or else the site is unblocked.

Initially, the initiators of this new law also intended it to apply to music or literary content rights. The text was denounced by some Internet professionals, especially due to the fact that it can completely block offending sites and not just the incriminated content.

“The new law makes it possible to close any resource on the Internet by linking it to a pirated video website and filing a complaint,” noted some VTB Capital analysts, who also commented on the fact that the law is vague and without specific procedure.

Late June, an open letter requesting the revision of the text was published by the Russian Association of Electronic Communications, which includes representatives from companies such as the local branch of Google, the portal, Yandex search engine and online retailer

These companies raised the fact that it is an “abuse and unfair competition”. They also state that in countries where similar processes exist, nearly 50% of the requests are issued by competitors’ sites.

Finally, the law does not define the use of films without permission, which puts pressure on many schools, universities, archives and libraries.

Russia is often accused of being lax on piracy. This strong action taken is linked to the fact that Russia wants to join the World Trade Organization (WTO° and launched an application file last August.

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