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Legal review of draft law on regulation for OTT-services in Russia

Relevant committee of Russian state duma made legal analysis of draft law providing regulation for OTT services in Russia. This analysis explains why and how the draft must be improved. For example, the draft law prescribes to introduce a registry of audio-visual services in Russia, but it does not define its legal status and purposes.

Draft law states that audio-visual production is intended to be consumed or received in Russia only if it is provided to customers, residing in Russia, for payment or under condition to view an advertisement, attracting attention of consumers residing in Russia. Analysis states that this provision contains logical error. Paid access to audio-visual production and viewing of advertisement (subjective factor) can’t define the residence of a customer.

Proposed conditions for including of audio-visual service in registry must be clarified. The legislator must take into account the fact that customers can receive access to audio-visual service with help of technologies changing information about residence of Internet user. In other words the user, using VPN and residing in Russia, technically can access audio-visual service from Netherlands.

In this connection it is not clear how the objectivity of information on visitors, residing precisely in Russia, of certain audio-visual service will be ensured. The internet is global, it does not have borders. Therefore anyone from any place of the world can visit Russian segment of internet, in Russian internet there is no restrictions on visiting legal Russian web-sites. If internet is global it is not clear how to define that audio-visual service is mainly intended for users residing in certain territorial subject of Russian Federation.

Regarding to obligations to verify information. Organiser of audio-visual service is not a state authority having power and ability to verify information, it is private person. Organiser of audio-visual service is not obliged to execute functions of state authorities. It should be provided that such organiser must delete information, if it has been placed in violation of Russian law, only if state authorities provide relevant official documents, like court decision or prescription of state authority, determining that such information is inauthentic.

This analysis has been made by relevant committee of Russian state duma. The Russian Federation Council has also its own opinion, but it is not detailed as analysis of state duma. It only states that the law must be significantly improved.