The chief of Russian Roskomnadzor Alexandr Zharov believes online cinemas in Russia should be regulated in the same way as is regulated traditional TV in Russia. “I believe streaming video-services are another step in development of (traditional) TV broadcast and (nontraditional) TV broadcast. Therefore it is necessary to work over the issues how to regulate near traditional TV.” Media-communication Union developed a draft law to regulate work of online cinemas in Russia.
Under this draft only Russian legal entities or citizens have the right to organise and operate audiovisual services in Russia. These persons must notify Roskomnadzor about their work and Roskomnadzor will register all such services. Owners of audiovisual streaming services would also be obliged to delete users’ data about their personal life at their request, they must not disseminate information prohibited by law, they also must provide access to content within entire country. Not less than 80% of streamed content must be in Russian language and not less than 30% of all catalogues must consist of Russian movies and serials. Such services must fight piracy by way of providing access only to products of mass media, movies and video movies with permission on dissemination. But rules don’t cover services allowing users to upload their content.
If the service does not comply with proposed law, communication operators can block access to such service. Service also can face a fine up to half million Russian roubles in a case if Roskomnadzor will be not notified about service’s work in Russia. This draft law has been developed by order of Alexandr Zharov, perhaps that’s why he endorsed it but mentioned – it is not final decision, the work is going on. But not all industry is agreed with Zharov. CEO of association “Internet Video” Aleksey Birdin believes this draft law does not comply with state policy intending to decrease supervision functions.
But advisory council under Russian government believes current legal framework provides enough opportunities for control over online cinemas and music services. Toughening of law puts investments in such services under question and will cause loss for state budget up to 10 billion roubles in year in form of taxes. Introduction of “excessive and flawed” regulation will lead to restriction of competition and will cause substantial decreasing of economic efficiency and investment attraction of OTT-services. “It will negatively affect related industries in national economy. Russian film industry will lose new channel of distribution, communication operators will lose traffic and state will lose tax payments.” Such situation will benefit pirate services. Regulation approaches for OTT-services and traditional broadcast services must differ due to fundamental differences in technologies and business models.