Russian government issued “a final warning” for people operating illegal websites. The local copyright legislation was amended again to not just protect more content, but also enable authorities to permanently block websites making copyrighted content available.
Following massive pressure from the copyright owners all over the world, a couple years ago Russia started taking attempts to improve its reputation of the highly pirated nation. Back in 2013, a new IP law was introduced in the country, which outlined a mechanism to block the sites by intermediaries if those failed to comply with take down notices within 3 days.
Over the first year, preliminary interim injunctions were imposed against 175 websites, but only 12 file-sharing domains were blocked. Now the law was further amended – from May 2015, it will cover not only video? but all multimedia content (except pictures).
Under the amended law, the intermediaries (Internet service providers and webhosts) can be ordered to permanently block sites that continually make unauthorized content available online.
Russian authorities officially explained the legislation’s reach, saying that the law enables to block access to online services providing access to copyright-infringing videos, TV shows and from May 1 – to music, books and software as well. The upgraded law also states that the systematic violation of intellectual property rights will lead to permanent blockage of the infringing portals.
The operators of torrent and other file-sharing websites received a particular notice. The authorities warned they have until May 1 to enter into constructive dialogue with copyright owners who are open to cooperation. The authorities underline that the common goal of the industry is to ensure that all copyright works are adequately rewarded and successful books, music and software bring profits to their creators, and not the pirates. If the website operators fail to start a legal business, the response of the government will become quite obvious.
In the meantime, the industry observers note that the first attempt of the country at website blocking legislation didn’t produce any apocalyptic conclusion. Now we’ll see how these latest amendments work out for Russian file-sharing sites.