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New anti-piracy laws go live in Russia

By | Published on Friday 1 May 2015


While diplomatic tensions between Russia and the West of late may have made it harder for the copyright industry’s lobbyists in the US and Europe to put pressure on the Russian government over intellectual property matters, new laws go live in the country today that should boost the music industry’s ability to tackle online piracy.

Under the new rules – which basically extend to audio a system put in place for online videos in 2013 – it is easier for rights owners to issue notices to have their content removed from sites that are not licensed, and if those notices are unheeded a system is in place for music companies to have the site blocked in Russia or, if locally based, fully shut down. Basically if a website is found liable for copyright infringement in court twice, an automatic process will kick in to take the site offline.

The new rules were approved late last year, so sites who could find themselves liable – perhaps most notably the much-criticised-by-the-labels vKontakte – have been busy putting measures in place to ensure they don’t fall foul of the new regulations. Though whether that will help nurture a market for licensed streaming services in the country remains to be seen.

But the development has been welcomed by the local industry, with Billboard quoting the General Director of Russian label Navigator Records, Alexei Kozin, who told Russian newspaper “We are very glad that the anti-piracy law has been finally extended to cover music. The music industry can now expect a serious boost as we have a major instrument for protecting our copyright”.