Right holders want to make search engines to hide pirate sites in search results

Russian association of movie and television producers (APKiT) has developed antipiracy draft bill obliging search engines to delete links to pirate sites from indexing. This draft has been sent to Russian ministry of culture.

Under draft bill search engines are obliged to delete links to pirate sites from their indexing in accordance with right holders’ request. Such search engines like Yandex, Google, Mail and Bing fall under draft bill. The draft provides responsibility for copyright infringement in a case if search engine refuse to satisfy right holder’s request. Yandex called such measures “excessive”.

The members of association believe search engines are the main problem of widespread piracy. Search engines are the best place where you can stop piracy. APKiT members want a clear provision in law stating that search engines are responsible for copyright infringement if they are aware of such infringement and don’t delete links from indexing.

There is a strong intention to define legal status of search engines in Russia – whether they are information intermediary or they aren’t. If they are informational intermediaries they must be responsible for copyright infringement under copyright law. If they aren’t informational intermediaries they don’t have to bear any responsibility or they are responsible for copyright infringement under common rules.

Russian civil law provides definition of informational intermediary – it is a person transmitting information through the internet network and providing opportunity for its hosting and/or access to. But it is not enough for APKiT members. They believe definition must be clearer in relation to search engines. They want to set up in law an individual legal status for them for the purposes of responsibility for copyright infringement.

Not all market players praise legislative idea to introduce a new kind of responsibility for copyright infringement. Yandex believes it is an inappropriate and improper initiative. The Russian law already provides enough measures to combat piracy and prevent copyright infringement. The courts have clear understanding that it is impossible to bring search engines to justice, the courts hold strong position that search engines are not informational intermediaries due to their specific functions. And judicial practice confirms such position.