Russian Internet Firms (And Google) Try To Explain Basic Liability Concepts To Entertainment Industry

from the third-parties dept

In the US, for the most part, we have legal safe harbors that enforce (usually) common sense points about liability into law. The basic idea is that a third party service provider or tool should not be held liable for what users do with those tools. Unfortunately, there are some problems with how this has been interpreted in the US at times, but at least the basics of reasonable safe harbors are there. And this is important. It makes no sense to blame a service provider for actions of users, but oftentimes those third parties are the primary targets of legal action, because they have more money and because it’s an “easier” target. Over in Russia, apparently, there are no such legal safe harbors in place, and the biggest Russian internet companies, along with Google, all put out an open letter to the entertainment industry saying that it’s time to stop blaming the internet companies for the actions of their users. It seems there have been some lawsuits in Russia against these sites, and they’re not happy about it.

Part of the open letter appears to be an attempt to set up, without a legal basis, an agreement for a notice-and-takedown process of sorts. This is a bit disappointing of course. We’ve had such a notice-and-takedown process in the US for a while, and we’ve seen that it’s quite frequently abused to takedown free speech and fair use content for reasons that have nothing to do with actual copyright issues. At the very least, it would have been better for these service providers to offer a notice-and-notice provision, where the users are notified that a copyright holder believes their use is infringing, letting them respond before the content is just taken down.

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Companies: google

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Comments on “Russian Internet Firms (And Google) Try To Explain Basic Liability Concepts To Entertainment Industry”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Or possibly like trying to explain to a man holding you at gunpoint why he shouldn’t take your wallet.

Maybe Google should just deny service to Russian users, a la isoHunt? A big “Your government wants to sue us for everything random people do on the internet. If you want the searching back, complain to them at this e-mail address.” notice would make headlines, and meanwhile Russian users could just use Anonymouse or Ninja Cloak or something.

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