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Internet companies ask to change draft law about news aggregators in Russia

Group of internet companies, operating in Russia, united by one concern has sent its propositions to relevant Russian state duma committee for draft law about news aggregators. This draft law has been adopted by state duma in first reading.

Internet companies propose to change definition of “news aggregator owner”. This definition is too broad. Internet services like social networks, messengers, search engines etc. fall under this definition. It is also proposed to provide that bloggers and search engines are not news aggregators, they allow only searching of information, they don’t write news. It was also proposed to change wording “news information”; wording “day news reports” should replace “news information” because it is already used in current Russian law – article 1256 of Russian civil code specifies that daytime news reports are not copyright objects. Internet companies also want to exclude responsibility provided by draft law for information disseminated by news aggregator even if it is mass media quoting verbatim.

Aleksandr Ushenko, one of the draft law authors, mentioned that if news aggregators collect information from bloggers or other sources, which are not mass media and don’t have appropriate licence, they should pre-moderate or edit it and bear liability for such data. The key feature for definition of news aggregator is daily traffic – one million visitors in a day, believes Ushenko. Under this feature fall social networks like Facebook and Russian Vkontakte, which already have news feeds, aggregating information from mass media and users. Facebook must register its representative office in Russia, at least. If foreign companies will not abide current Russian law, they will not work and operate in Russian market, believes Ushenko. It is very simple. Why make and maintain conditions suitable for business, including internal, if it is possible prohibit everything and turn back to past, when people used paper sources?