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Russia’s Duma approves expansion of anti-piracy law

November 14, 2014, 21:33 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The anti-piracy law will cover video, books, music and software, but not photos
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© ITAR-TASS/Sergey Fadeichev

MOSCOW, November 14. /TASS/. Russia’s State Duma, the parliament’s lower house, has approved a package of amendments to the anti-piracy law, which will cover video, books, music and software, but not photos, PRIME reported Friday.

Now rights’ owners can demand suspension of Internet sources, which violate authors’ rights, for a period of court proceedings. Two lost cases will lead to an closure of the resource. The court will decide on a permanent blocking of a Web site.

“Our fundamental aim was to protect rights’ owners from professional pirates without creating serious problems for Web’s users, who may not be familiar with details of the law on authors’ rights and are authorized to use the whole content that is available,” Duma deputy speaker Sergey Zheleznyak said in his Facebook account.

The document will be handed over to the Federation Council, the parliament’s upper house, for further consideration. If it is approved by the Federation Council and the president, the initiative will come in force from May 2015.

Internet companies said that the bill allows to close any resource. The widening of the anti-piracy law will provide rights’ owners with tools to pressure Web sites’ owners, a spokesperson for Internet company Rambler&Co. said.

“In case of adoption of the amendments, activities of almost all information intermediaries, furnishing third parties with an opportunity to place content on their web sites, may be terminated upon request of rights’ owners,” the spokesperson said.

The same concerns the introduction of a pre-trial order of disputes. “It protects interests only of one party, the rights’ owner, and deprives other participants of their basic rights, including the one for court protection,” the spokesperson said.

Among the amendments there is an initiative under which a Web site owner must delete during 24 hours any content, rather than limit access to it, upon an electronic request from a rights’ owner.

Stanislav Kozlovsky, executive director at non-commercial partnership Wikimedia RU, said that the expansion of the anti-piracy law on all types of content, excluding pictures, may result in court mistakes in tracking a real intellectual rights owner for disputable materials released in the Internet.

“The law names authors of works who call themselves such until the opposite is proved by court. The notions of the author and the rights’ owner are divided, as the latter can buy from the former rights to use the works. It makes the process of identifying the real owner at court more difficult,” Kozlovsky said.

However, publishing houses and radio stations liked the bill. “The book industry has long been trying to protect rights for books in the same way as in the cinema industry,” Maxim Ryabyko, director of the legal department at the Eksmo publishing house, said.

“We undoubtedly support the amendments; they will allow to fight pirate resources efficiently. Evidently, it will have a positive impact on the whole music industry,” European Media Group’s President Yekaterina Tikhomirova said.

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