Russia toughens Piracy laws

Amendments, aimed to crack down digital pirates in Russia were taken into effect today. The new additions make it illegal to share copyrighted material online.

Until today there was no law in Russia that protected copyright holders from internet piracy. The new law allows sentences up to 5 years in prison, equaling online piracy with other forms of copyright infringement.

The anti-piracy law is an important factor in determining whether Russia’s can join the WTO.

The present amendments were ratified back in 2004, but content providers had until today to acquire the appropriate licenses, and register their activities. However, only a handful of content providers actually took the time and effort to go legit.

As the Kommersant notes:

Experts estimate that 97 percent of music spread in Russian Internet now is still piratic, and many mp3 websites sell western music to western customers. Legal Internet market is estimated at less than $1 million per year, while the turnover of just one of the major illegal Russian websites, offering some 850,000 of musical tracks for 12—15 cents, reaches up to $25—30 million, according to different estimates.

Russia president Vladimir Putin, and other world leaders discussed piracy earlier this year at the G8 summit in Petersburg

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