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Russian ministry of culture proposed to block pirate web-site permanently without court order and any evidence

A new draft law, developed by Russian ministry of culture (MinCult), contains amendments to Russian law on information, its protection and informational technologies, aiming to simplify and streamline restriction of access to pirate web-sites and their mirrors. But there is one little detail.

If the current law provides restriction of access to web-site, disseminating illicit content or information, as preliminary measure, the proposed law makes such measure as a consequence for non-abiding a new requirements which new law set up. According to proposed amendments the owner of any web-site must have on his/her web-site an information depending on the type of person – whether natural or legal.

If the owner of web-site is a legal entity, it must provide on web-site its business name, given under incorporation, and also indicate its place of location and address. In a case of natural person, the information including name, surname, address and email must be published publicly on web-site. Such obligation can let any person, including right holder, known the personal details of web-site owner. Such requirements cover all, including small and non-professional, web-sites.

Under the draft law if the right holder discovers copyright infringement he, personally or through duly authorized representative, must notify thereof the owner of web-site or hosting provider, where the web-site is located. If the hosting provider receives such notification it must provide its client, the owner of web-site, with copy of such notification and urges to “undertake necessary measures aiming to remove information”, which is subject of notification. If the web-site owner did not respond, i.e. deleted information or content in question, the hosting provider takes web-site down and restricts access to it.

But if hosting provider or web-site owner do nothing and just ignore right holder’s notification? The right holder has option to ask Roskomnadzor to restrict access. There is no need in court proceedings, in examination of evidence. All you need is assuredness. According to this draft law any person, claiming copyright ownership, can restrict access to any web-site in Russia without court order and any evidence just on the ground of its allegation.

Roskomnadzor has 24 hours to ask the hosting provider and owner of web-site in question to cease infringing of copyright. If Roskomnadzor receives no reply or there is no respond from receivers of notification, in that case the access to web-site in question is to be restricted in 24 hours as usual procedure.

Some right holders and representatives from ISP sector believe such legal proposal will play in favor of pirates, but not right holders. This measure can also be exploited in anticompetitive purposes. One ISP has explained when right holder wrongly claimed copyright infringement by official distributor. Without due process it is undesirable to undertake measures with strong legal and costly consequences.