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Russian ministry of culture proposed hard measures to fight internet piracy in order to protect national films

Russian ministry of culture (MinCult) proposed hard measures to fight piracy in internet – blocking of access to web-sites, disseminating Russian national films in violation of Russian law, within two days without court order. These measures can be included in new draft law on blocking of access to mirrors of pirate website.

Russian movie producers have upheld this MinCult’s idea. They have sent a letter to minister of culture. In this letter they complained of imperfections of state policy on piracy, including considered draft law on blocking access to mirrors of pirate web-sites. Producers are aware of MinCults’s work on developing measures to protect right holders of national films from piracy. “It is necessary to undertake measures to “rip in the bud” a piracy of national films in internet, namely by way of blocking of pirate content without court order, blocking of pirate web-sites through summary trial and blocking of links to pirate content in search engines.” Current time frames, provided for blocking of pirate content in internet, nullify the effectiveness of access blocking.

Right holders believe harsh measures are necessary; otherwise the outcome will be zero. They believe “Google and Yandex search need regulation” – it should be difficult for ordinary user to find web-site, illegally disseminating video content, with help of Google or Yandex. But what about other search engines that are available in Russia – to block access to them? Right holders believe “Google and Yandex search capacities are a high way for pirates”.

MinCult intends to enshrine in law the following mechanisms: if right holder discovers its film in internet, on a web-site, placed there without its authorisation, such right holder can make application to MinCult. MinCult verifies received application and identifies right holder. Within one day MinCult requires Roskomnadzor to block web-site with film after confirmation of right holder. Roskomnadzor, in its turn, promptly and without court order must require ISP to block access to web-site with film in question and must require search engines to cease showing links to such web-site in search results.

If operator or owner of web-site in question does not agree with decision to block access, such decision can be contested within 10 days. Repeated copyright infringement gives raise the right of right holder to require permanent blocking of web-site in court and this requirement will considered in summary trial. But such mechanism is proposed only for Russian national films. Hollywood will fight piracy in Russia by old means. Nothing personal, it’s just business.

Some other state authorities are solidary with MinCult. For example, Russian ministry of communication (MinCom) upholds Mincult’s idea. But not all experts do agree with Mincult that proposed measure will help to fight piracy in internet. What about presumption of innocence? The proposed mechanism does not provide independent expertise in order to make justifiable decision. The next step would be criminal liability for ISP, internet companies and users – believes executive from Institute of internet research.