New law for OTT-(audio-visual)-services operating in Russia

A new law, providing regulation for OTT-services in Russia, has been signed by Russian president. What it provides? Under article 1 of new law the Russian law “On information, its protection and informational technologies” is to be changed. First of all the new law defines who is organiser of audio-visual service.

The organiser of audio-visual service is an owner of web-site and/or page of web-site in Internet, and/or informational system, and/or software for computer, which to be exploited for forming and/or organizing of dissemination in Internet a set of audio-visual works; the access to these audio-visual works must be provided for payment and/or under condition to view advertisement intended to attract attention of customers residing in Russia and the quantity of such users, accessing the service from Russia, must be minimum 100.000 per day.

What obligations the organiser of audio-visual service must comply with? It is forbidden to use audio-visual service to commence a crime, to disclose any state secret or any other secret protected by law, to disseminate extremist materials, pornography or explicit content. The organiser must comply with requirements, provided in Russian law, regulating dissemination of mass information.

The service can’t disseminate TV channels or programs which are not registered as mass media in accordance with law. Organiser must place its email address on its service in order to receive legal communications; natural person also must indicate its surname and initials, legal person must indicate its business name. Service also must install one of the programs, provided by relevant supervising authority, in order to properly count a quantity of visitors.

The relevant state federal supervising authority is responsible for registry of audio-visual services. In order to maintain registry the authority must monitor informational resources, determine methodic applying for calculation of Internet users visiting audio-visual resources. Authority has the right to require persons to provide information necessary to maintain registry and the persons must provide such required information within 10 days following the date when requirement has been received.

The owner of audio-visual service can be a citizen of Russia Federation, in a case of natural person, or legal entity incorporated in Russia. If otherwise is not agreed in international treaty signed by Russian Federation, foreign state, international organisation or foreign or Russian legal entity, being under control of such international organisation, with share more than 20% in such entity, foreign citizen, a stateless person, Russian citizen, having citizenship of other state, their affiliate persons, can own, manage or control informational resource, exploiting for dissemination of audio-visual works, if the quantity of users from Russian Federation is less than half of all visitors of such resource, only under condition of approval by governmental commission. Governmental commission gives it approval only if such control, management or owning will facilitate development of audio-visual services in Russia.

Audio-visual service is to be excluded from registry of such services if the daily quantity of visitors is lesser than 100 thousands. The service can be excluded after application of service owner, if daily quantity of visitors is lesser than 100 thousands during three months, or under decision of supervising entity, if daily quantity of visitors is lesser than 100 thousands during six months.

What service is not an audio-visual service under new law? Informational resources, registered as mass media, search engines and informational resources, where users mostly upload audio-visual works.

Dissemination of TV channel or program by the owner of audio-visual service entails administrative penalty, if such TV channel or program is not registered as mass media or has been registered as mass media after decision to cease broadcasting of such TV channel or program,. For natural persons it is up to 10 thousands roubles, for officers it is up to 100 thousands roubles and for legal entity it is up to 700 thousands roubles.