Russia Prepares to Broaden Brand New Anti-Piracy Law

Anti-piracy legislation introduced in Russia less than a week ago is already back with legislators. The Ministry of Culture says that the law will be amended to include not only movies and TV shows as previously planned, but a wide range of other creative content. Website owners will be required to make their contact details available to rightsholders in order to speed up complaints while tech companies such as Google have until Friday to put forward their suggestions.

Last week Russia introduced new legislation aimed at reducing online copyright infringement.

Targeted specifically at the unauthorized distribution of movies and TV shows, the new law allows rightsholders to file official complaints against sites carrying or linking to such content without permission. If sites fail to take down offending items quickly, they face having their domains blocked at the ISP level.

Now, just six days into the new law – which was rushed through to the dismay of critics – the Ministry of Culture says it will begin amending the legislation.

A copy of the new draft law titled “Amendments to Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation in order to stop violations of copyright and related rights on the Internet” was obtained by Izvestia.

The document reveals that the range of content protected by the current legislation will be extended to include music, photos and other images, plus text-based material. The law was originally meant to cover a wide range of content but was amended at the eleventh hour when it was deemed that only “high value” video products should be protected. It appears the government has changed its mind – again.

Extra requirements will also be placed on those running websites. The amendments state that site owners will be required by law to display their real-world addresses alongside their email addresses on their websites in order to speed up correspondence. They will also be required to incorporate a special form in their sites to streamline the processing of any complaints.

“This will allow the holder to reduce the time of petition, as well as the time spent searching for an address,” the Ministry of Culture said in a statement.

Also up for consideration is the way copyright complaints are formatted and issued. These need to be correctly presented by rightsholders because if information is missing, site owners are not required to respond to their copyright complaints.

“The list of information and the way declarations are made has to be further developed and discussed,” the Ministry said.

Correctly presented complaints must be actioned within 24 hours to include the removal of the infringing content in question. Users responsible for uploading content must be notified of any complaint and given a chance to appeal to the complainant. To escalate the matter rightsholders may file a complaint with telecoms watchdog Roscomnadzor which could result in a site being blocked at the ISP level.

With the government having failed to react to the concerns of companies such as Google and local search engine Yandex before the current legislation was passed, a second chance is now available for them to present their own amendments. A hearing on the bill will go ahead on Friday.

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