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Russian telecom companies warn they would have to infringe copyright in order to comply with Yarovaya law

Communication companies are afraid of that Yarovaya law, adopted in Russia, makes Russian communication operators to infringe copyright in content which they are obliged to keep certain period of time. Communication operators warned about Russian ministry of communication. This is all about licenced content amounting approximately 40% of all transferred content.

Users send to each other a copyrighted content, Yarovaya law does not take into account the fact that such content can be copyrighted. If, for example mobile operator under effective Russian law stores transferred content does it need to take a licence from right holder? But this entails more interesting question – does it have to monitor all communications between users in order to find out who it a right holder of transferred content? In order to find out who is a right holder operator must know what content has been transferred.

But such situation has a positive side. For example, accidentally you have deleted some content which is very important to you and you need to restore it at least. You always have “backup”. Operator keeps it. Perhaps you could ask it to make a copy for you. If operator does not offer already such service; it could call it some like “cloud” service.

Alternative communication operators have placed their letter on the name of Russian minister of communication on public portal in the context of public discussion of legal norms necessary to implement Yarovaya law. Such operators believe storing of copyrighted content, i.e. copyrighted data, creates risks for operators to be enforced for illegal exploitation of intellectual property objects. Under Russian copyright law reproduction in the memory of computer also requires a permission of right holder.

Russian ministry of communication refused to give any comment, but it is aware of this concern of alternative communication operators and considers what to do. Formally alternative communication operators are right. They must have permission in order to reproduce copyrighted content on their servers in order to comply with Yarovaya law. But nobody will amend the law in such way that communication companies will be obliged to take a licence from right holder.

Yarovaya law was adopted in order to protect national security, what is more important than copyright. The object of this regulation and the object of copyright regulation are different. Communication companies are obliged to store content for the purposes of execution Yarovaya law, but not copyright law. Besides, what exactly must be stored by operators is not defined by Russian government, which must list the type of content and terms for its storing.