Russian beefing up the law: to tackle online piracy

Updated: 00:00 GMT, Jan 1, 1970 | Published: 09:26 GMT, May 1, 2015 |

Russia is beefing up the law it uses to tackle online piracy. The law was introduced in mid-2013 and gave the authorities the power to tell internet companies to cut off access to sites found to be pirating media. As first enacted, the law only applied to sites that shared pirated movies and TV shows. The updated law has been expanded to cover sites that share links to pirated music, books and software. It does not cover images. The updated law comes into force on 1 May. It gives those accused of harbouring pirated media just 72 hours to respond to a complaint before a permanent ban is put in place. No court order is required to shut down sites. Instead, officials will respond to complaints from rights-holders. Those accused of pirating content will then be able to argue their defence in court – but if they lose two cases, their site will go on the block list.

Figures from Russia reveal that in the first year, anti-piracy watchdogs got complaints about 175 sites, which resulted in 12 of them being put on the banned list. Most of those banned are believed to be sites that share BitTorrent “trackers”, which people use to find pirated media. Earlier this week Sergei Zheleznyak, deputy speaker of the Russian Duma, warned pirates about the imminent change. Mr Zheleznyak said the sites had until 1 May to enter into a “constructive dialogue” with the firms that hold the rights to the media being shared around.

The common goal of this effort of Russian government is to ensure that all work is adequately rewarded and that the benefit from successful books, music and wonderful computer programs is enjoyed by those who created them, and not those who stole them.