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Right holders and search engines consider idea of self-regulation in fighting piracy in Russia

Russian major right holders – media companies producing and distributing audio-visual content – discussing the opportunity to delete links to web-sites with illegal video content from search results without court order or any court participation; such opportunity could be realized in the form of voluntary agreement or memorandum obligatory for all its participants.

If stakeholders would not find decision, suitable for all parties, the Russian authorities could make it involuntary and there is no guarantee that all parties concerned would like such case scenario. Owners and right holders of audio-visual content want delete illegal copies of their works in internet promptly because procedure under current Russian law allow pirates make money on video content while the court considers the relevant case even with requirement to restrict access.

Such voluntary agreement could foster restriction of access to illegal copies audio-visual content or streaming web-sites in Russian territory. This agreement would be most favorable for right holders, but internet companies are also interested because there would be no court’s participation. The project of this agreement already has been discussed in Russian president’s administration. After the restriction of access to certain web-site with illegal copy of or access to video content the pirates make new web-sites and get traffic thanks to search engines.

Right holders want to stop it. Russian authorities prefer self-regulation in the field of protection of intellectual property in internet, but if the stakeholders would not reach agreement authorities could adopt it as the law regardless of stakeholders’ ability to adapt to new rules. Russian authorities believe it is better voluntary self-regulation because it allows stakeholder to solve their problems directly, without state agencies.

Yandex believes all major internet companies must sign this agreement, not only search engines should be responsible for dissemination of illegal content, social networks and video platforms must also bear responsibility. Search engines are not ready take liability to decide what links they should exclude from indexing, they believe it should handle special professional organisation, whether currently existing or it should be established.

The moderators of this organisation would receive necessary information from right holders and refer it to search engines and bear relevant responsibility for consequences. They would verify the copyright ownership, check the links, provided by the right holders, and make decision whether link to certain video-content is to be included in the “black list”. Such procedure could reduce the term for restriction of access from 5 days to 6 hours. The law provides 3-5 days for blocking injunction and the agreement reduce this term to 6 hours.

The final text of memorandum would be ready near future and can be signed till the end of 2018. But there are questions putting the execution of memorandum at risk. First of all who will bear costs on execution of this agreement, who will be in charge of execution of this memorandum, who has to create and maintain “black list” of pirate links, how to prove the copyright ownership etc.?