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New law provides regulation for audio-visual services operating in Russia

The law provides definition of organiser of audio-visual service. It is an owner of web-site and/or its single page in Internet network and/or software for computers, which are exploited (web-site, page or software) to form and/or to organise dissemination in Internet a set of audio-visual works, if access to such audio-visual works is provided for payment and/or under condition to view an ads, intended to attract attention of consumers, residing in Russia, and the quantity of visitors is not less than 100 thousands a day from territory of Russia.

It is prohibited to use audio-visual service in order to commit a crime, to disclose state secret or other information, protected by law, to disseminate extremist materials or materials promoting pornography, violence or materials containing explicit content, i.e. obscene language. Audio-visual service (AVS) must comply with requirements regulating dissemination of mass information.

AVS does not have the right to distribute TV channels or programs if the last have been not registered in accordance with law on mass media. AVS organiser must indicate electronic address in order to receive legally significant notices and also indicate its initials (for natural persons) or name (for legal persons). Organiser must also install software designed to count the quantity of users visiting AVS and approved by supervising authority.

Roskomnadzor also is a supervising authority under new law. It organises a registry of AVSs. In order to maintain a registry of AVSs Roskomnadzor 1) monitors informational resources (i.e. web-sites); 2) approves methodic in order to define the daily quantity of users for certain AVs; 3) requires information, necessary to maintain registry. Information is to be provided within 10 days following the moment when AVS receives information inquiry.

If Roskomnadzor finds informational resource which meets all requirements provided by law for qualification AVS, then Roskomnadzor 1) admits informational resource as AVS and includes it in its registry, 2) determines hosting provider of such resource, and 3) sends information inquiry (in English and Russian) to hosting provider in order to identify the AVS owner.

Under the new law Roskomnadzor receives information, necessary to identify the owner of domain name or person who acquires hosting services, only from hosting provider. When Roskomnadzor has all necessary information, provided by hosting provider, it notifies owner of AVS (it means someone who pays for hosting), that AVS has been included in registry of AVS. What the organiser of AVS must do if it receives notification from Roskomnadzor?

Before to answer this question it is necessary to know who can be the owner of AVS – only Russian legal entity or Russian citizen, who don’t have any other citizenship. There is also the rule of 20% for other cases, if the international agreement does not provide otherwise.

Foreign country, international organisation or any other organisation, being under control of international organisation, foreign legal entity, Russian legal entity, being under foreign control (not more than 20% of share capital), foreign citizen, Russian citizen with foreign citizenship, their affiliate persons, who owns informational source exploited for dissemination of audio-visual works in Internet if the quantity of users from Russia less than 50% from all its users, can own, operate or control 20% of such AVS only if it has been negotiated with governmental commission. So, when the owner of AVS receives notification from Roskomnadzor, he or she must prove its legal status and in a case of “involvement of foreign element” the share he or she owns, operates or controls.

If supervising authority finds illegal information published or placed in AVS it requires to delete such information. If service does not delete such information twice within one year and does not provide necessary information – it can be blocked in Russia (the access to such service can be restricted). What is not an AVS? Search engines, informational resources registered in accordance with law on mass media and informational resources where videos mostly are uploaded by Internet users.