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Anti-piracy law helps legalise internet content, copyright holders claim

August 28, 2013, 17:14 UTC+3

Many illegal websites have already begun cautious talks with rights holders with the view of legalising their content

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Composer Gennady Gladkov, Photo ITAR-TASS/Valery Sharifulin

Composer Gennady Gladkov, Photo ITAR-TASS/Valery Sharifulin

MOSCOW, August 28 (Itar-Tass) - Copyright holders on Wednesday said the anti-piracy law which became effective on August 1 stimulates the legalisation of internet content.

"Many illegal websites have already begun cautious talks with rights holders with the view of legalising their content," director of the National Federation of Music Industry Leonid Agronov said at a news conference at Itar-Tass. "The law creates a stimulus for legalising the market, not for dismantling it."

Content should certainly be available on the internet, but the administration of web resources had to stop violating the law and sign all the necessary agreements with copyright holders, the director said. "It's not difficult. The ball is in the internet industry's court," he noted, adding that the support of all parties was needed in copyright protection: mobile operators, search engines, and internet providers.

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"The law is good and correct; it cracks down on illegal actions in the web. As it is, it's quite functional, it only needs provisions on writers and musicians," writer Vladimir Panov noted. Composer Gennady Gladkov, too, supported the bid to have the anti-piracy law apply to other intellectual property.

"What we have at present is that music played in a film is treated as one kind of music, while a separate soundtrack is another kind," Gladkov said.

Russian lawmakers intend to consider a broader framework of the law during the autumn session. Meanwhile, internet users call for more active development of legal websites with films and music. "We have to create a market of legal products, and provide equal protection to all intellectual property," director for legal issues of the Yandex search engine Yekaterina Fadeyeva said.

Deputy Director General of the Stream company Artyom Zasursky said dozens of millions of Russians pay for legal music content, with rights holders receiving dozens of million of dollars each year.

Experts believe the Russian anti-piracy law is more democratic than its foreign counterparts. Chairman of the Council for Legal Protection of Intellectual Property on the Internet Pavel Katkov said web users in the USA, Great Britain, France, Germany and New Zealand bore responsibility for downloading illegal content, while in Russia, the law threatened no legal consequences. Also, a majority of these countries use extra-judiciary producers to settle disputes, whereas in Russia, you need to write a statement to Moscow City Court to request blocking a website posting illegal content.

Meanwhile, a dedicated working group at the State Duma lower house of the Russian parliament has been discussing a petition calling for cancelling the anti-piracy law.

"The petition issue was discussed and will be discussed further. We've involved the internet industry in these efforts with the view of securing a response to the petition," head of the office of the house commission for culture Yelena Sizova told the news conference.

The lower house will review proposals by the Russian Association of Electronic Communications regarding improvement of the anti-piracy law and the amendments brought forward by lawmaker Robert Shlegel.

Also, the Ministry of Culture is preparing to submit to the parliament its own version of the law on copyright protection on the internet.

"The final decision will be made at the meeting of the working group on September 5. On September 19, we'll define the basic positions at the session of the council for culture," Sizova said.

The petition for cancelling the anti-piracy law gathered 100,000 signatures on the website of Russian Public Initiative /ROI/. Under the law, it now has to be considered by a special expert group. The authors insisted that the law "infringes upon the rights of the national internet industry and internet users."

Authors of the petition, released on August 10, criticised the vagueness of terminology used in the law, the threat of blocking bona fide websites and the possibility to restrict access to whole websites rather than separate web pages.

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