As Russia Expands Its 'Think Of The Children' Laws To Copyright, Agency In Charge Investigated For Infringement

from the the-French-have-a-word-for-it dept

Last week we wrote about how the Russian equivalent of SOPA had been amended in order to ban swearing online. Although that was worth noting for its entertainment value, probably more important is the fact that the same law — originally brought in to take down sites about drugs, suicide and child pornography — has also been widened to include copyright infringement, as TechWeekEurope reports:

the law has been extended to include intellectual property, such as films or TV shows (but interestingly, not music). Under the new rules, copyright holders can contact the website and demand for illegal content to be removed, or request a court order and complain to Roskomnadzor. The website is then required to block the access to files within 3 days, and keep them inaccessible until the court decides on the case.

If the website owners refuse to comply with the order, Roskomnadzor will order ISPs to block the whole site.

This is a textbook example of how to bring in broad censorship in easy stages. First, pass new Web blocking laws “for the children”, which no politician would dare object to; then, once the machinery for blocking certain sites is in place, simply broaden it to other, more contentious areas — such as alleged copyright infringement. As the same story explains, over 1700 Russian Web sites went dark last week in protest at the new law, and 88,000 people signed a petition calling for the law to be repealed (original in Russian), just short of the 100,000 needed for the petition to be considered by the Russian parliament, so nothing much will happen on this front now.

Meanwhile, a film distribution company lost no time using the law to file against Vkontakte, Russia’s equivalent of Facebook. Although the case was thrown out because it lacked certain corroborating documents, it seems likely that it will be submitted again. Others will doubtless follow suit. Amusingly, though, the body responsible for implementing Russia’s extended SOPA law, Roscomnadzor, looks like it might have fallen foul of the new rules itself, as TorrentFreak explains:

The problems date back to July 9, 2013 when a technology audit at Roscomnadzor offices led officers from the Economic Crime unit and the Interior Ministry to seize five computers suspected of containing unlicensed software.

According to preliminary information from local law enforcement agencies, two of the seized computers contained unlicensed copies of Photoshop but apparently the problems don’t stop there as unlicensed software from Microsoft, Corel and Autodesk was also found.

This is reminiscent of the French HADOPI body also being found to have infringed copyright multiple times. Both cases emphasize just how widespread such unauthorized use is around the world, and why harsh punishments like Web blocks are completely disproportionate when even copyright enforcement bodies find it hard to comply with the law.

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Comments on “As Russia Expands Its 'Think Of The Children' Laws To Copyright, Agency In Charge Investigated For Infringement”

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17 Comments
out_of_the_blue says:

And responds correctly! "will now carry out a full internal audit"

That’s the part you pirates overlooked here and don’t grasp in general. Audit of any large organization will likely turn up pirated software, but doesn’t mean it’s corporate policy or tolerated. Besides that “a technology audit” implies that Roscomnadzor was willingly involved, NOT attempting to evade the law. — Just ANY bit of news is twisted to try and destroy copyright.

Sound principles of law remain the same regardless who violates them or how many times they’re violated.

Now, I’d like any of you pirates to state that YOU could pass even a quick glance at files on your own computers…

JR Price (profile) says:

Re: And responds correctly! "will now carry out a full internal audit"

“You pirates”? Evidence, Mr. Blue? Or does innocent until proven guilty not exist in your world?

As for your point that Roscomnadzor was not attempting to evade the law – as with HADOPI, the employees at fault were acting as agents of the organisation – therefore, the organisation as a whole is guilty. Or does corporate oversight not reach that far?

Twisting goes both ways, and you seem intent on twisting our views to be those of “criminals” and “pirates”.

Y’aaargh.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: And responds correctly! "will now carry out a full internal audit"

I could easily pass.

You would have to prove I obtained any of the MP3s or videos on my computer from unlicensed sources, which you would not be able to do.

I also only run FOSS software so you wont have any luck there either.

Better luck next time OOHM

Anonymous Coward says:

Rest of the story. Emphasis added.

?Further investigation carried out by the management has shown that [the software] was installed several years ago by employees who do not work as management. Currently the option of self-installation of software is excluded,? Roskomnadzor said in a statement.

Speaking with CNews, lawyer Natalia Kalin who works protecting the rights of Adobe in Russia, said that if it?s decided that the damages caused by the unlicensed software exceeds 100,000 rubles ($3,020), those responsible could be held criminally liable and face up to two years in prison.

Roskomnadzor notes, however, that it is yet to receive official confirmation that it used unlicensed software but once that arrives it will remedy the violations and punish those responsible.”

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