For some time, Russian rightsholders have been dealing with so-called ‘pirate’ sites by filing complaints at the Moscow City Court. If specific material is not removed within a two-week period, the Court is authorized to take action.
The measures usually involve an order for local ISPs to block subscribers from accessing errant sites, using methods already deployed by providers elsewhere in Europe. However, while ‘pirate’ sites are usually the targets, more legitimate platforms can also get sucked in.
Video-hosting giant DailyMotion is the latest to feel the harsh reality of Russia’s site-blocking mechanism. The platform, which is 90% owned by French media group Vivendi, was ordered to be blocked by the Moscow City Court, meaning that the site will soon be rendered inaccessible to local Internet users.
The issue dates back to 2016 when Gazprom Media discovered that video clips from its Pyatnitsya! (Friday!) channel were being hosted on DailyMotion without its permission. The company told Russia’s Gazeta that’s representatives sent several complaints to Daily Motion’s head office during the course of last year, but no response was received.
On at least two occasions in 2016, Gazprom Media had DailyMotion URLs blocked by the Moscow City Court, but after finding even more infringing content on the platform, Gazprom ran out of patience.
Last December, under repeat infringer laws active since 2015, DailyMotion was given one last chance to remove the clips from its platform. It failed to comply, and in response the Moscow City Court invoked its repeat infringer policy, ordering local ISPs to block DailyMotion on a permanent basis.
Speaking with Russian media, a spokesperson for Russian telecoms watchdog Rozcomnadzor said that in line with a requirement for ISPs to block the site within seven days, it’s possible that Daily Motion could be blacked-out before the end of the week.
Gazprom Media said that DailyMotion’s owner Vivendi failed to appeal the ruling within the prescribed time limit. As a result, it now finds itself on a list of serious repeat infringers (which includes notorious torrent site RuTracker) that face so-called “eternal blocking” in Russia.
In comments to THR, a Daily Motion spokesperson said that the company was unaware of any ongoing court procedure and would “take all necessary steps to make contact with relevant authorities in Russia to resolve the issue.”
The fact that DailyMotion has been labeled a repeat infringer by a competent court will be of huge embarrassment to owner Vivendi. The French-based company owns Universal Music, TV company Canal+, and has interests in game publishers Ubisoft and Gamesloft.
It is not clear how easily the permanent block can be lifted, but it’s likely that DailyMotion will now do everything it can to appeal the decision of the Moscow Court.