Russia to Punish ISPs, Search Engines & Users Over Content Blocking

As Russia continues its crackdown on online infringement the government is now proposing even tougher measures against those who facilitate piracy. A new bill was approved yesterday which allows for fines of up to $29,853 for service providers, search engines and users who fail to comply with a blacklist of sites already subjected to copyright complaints.

Just over a month has passed since Russia introduced new legislation aimed at cracking down on online piracy. The law, which has become known as Russia’s SOPA, takes a tough line with those offering or linking to illicit content online.

Copyright complaints against a site or service can lead to that domain being added to a national blocklist, if their operators fail to render the illicit content inaccessible within a few days.

Although rightsholders have struggled at times to provide the necessary information required for a correctly formatted complaint, orders have already been issued to add sites to the Russian national blocklist. But now, just 34 days after the initial law was implemented, the government is pushing through further punitive measures for pirates and those deemed to be assisting them.

Blocklist

According to Vesti.ru a parliamentary committee approved a new bill yesterday which will allow a range of Internet entities to be fined if they fail to block content and sites as dictated by the country’s blacklist.

The bill, which was approved in the first of three planned readings in the State Duma, introduces fines of up to one million rubles ($29,853) to be levied against search engines, web hosts, ISPs, and even regular web users.

The heaviest of fines will be reserved for companies failing to comply with the requirements of the blacklist, while punishments for regular users are expected to sit around 5,000 rubles ($149).

Last week, Russian authorities ordered the blocking of Rutor, one of the largest Russian torrent sites. At the moment the site is not on the national blacklist and remains available via ISPs but unless the site complies with a previous order it’s IP address will soon be blocked.

Later in the year, possibly in the fall, Russia will seek to expand the current law. At the moment only TV shows and movies are protected by the legislation but music, books and other works are expected to be added.

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