Russia Admits Its Strict Anti-Piracy Laws Aren't Working… So They'll Just Try Some More

from the definition-of-insanity dept

For years, we’ve pointed out the ridiculousness of how copyright maximalists are always screaming about the need for “anti-piracy” laws to stop infringement, which they insist is killing them. In the US, new anti-piracy laws are proposed (and often passed) every couple of years — and the end result is always the same: infringement continues unabated. But rather than learn from that, and realize that a different approach is needed, maximalists always assume the answer is MOAR ENFORCEMENT!. Despite basically all of human history showing that enforcement is no real solution, including some rather detailed modern evidence, maximalists see enforcement/anti-piracy laws as the only hammer to deal with the infringement nail.

The latest example of this is in Russia, a country that the US attacked for years for its supposedly lax approach to dealing with copyright infringement. However, in the last year or so, Russia has massively ratcheted up its “anti-piracy” laws, giving the government incredible powers to censor sites that it deems infringing. And it’s been using that law, demanding sites be blocked entirely by ISPs. Yet, it appears that both providers of authorized services and government officials (all the way up to Vladimir Putin) are admitting that the law simply hasn’t been “working” to stop infringement or drive people to legitimate services.

But, rather than recognize that perhaps a different approach is needed, the Russians have apparently decided to double-down on the failed policy:

“It is necessary to consider additional steps to protect intellectual property rights,” Putin concluded.

Of course, it should be noted that there is also an ulterior motive in Russia. Putin and others long ago realized that copyright laws are an incredibly effective tool for attacking government critics, stifling dissent and censoring political opponents. And, even better, Russia knows that it can do this with US approval, because the US stupidly keeps demanding Russia do more to fight copyright infringement. So, they keep ratcheting up those laws… and then use them to stifle dissent and censor critics. But… none of it actually drives people to buy legitimate content. But I doubt the Russian government really cares, as that will just give them another excuse to ratchet up those censorship laws for other purposes.

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Comments on “Russia Admits Its Strict Anti-Piracy Laws Aren't Working… So They'll Just Try Some More”

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Anonymous Coward says:

law simply hasn’t been “working” to stop infringement or drive people to legitimate services.

legitimate services .. really ..are there any besides paying high prices for a cable package just to access their internet content .. yes you do have netflix and amazon even hulu but they have pretty much the same content.

Russia will lose the battle just like the US and every other Country in the world has,because of lackluster and ineffective content delivery systems by rights holders .

Rikuo (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’m your average consumer of media. I want to stay on the right side of the law: I don’t want to have the threat of court hanging over my head like the Sword of Damocles.
However, when consuming media, every single legal option I have tried simply pales in comparison to unauthorised sources.
Broadcast TV: if I’m watching free over the air, my selection is limited, and I have to conform to someone else’s viewing schedule. Given that my working hours are different from week-to-week, this is unfeasible. I could hear of a great new show that’s on Wednesday evenings at 7pm: not great, because more than likely, I’ll miss half the episodes and then be told I have to be left waiting for months for the optical disc. If I pay for a cable package, well, my selection is much greater, but I’m still stuck to whatever the TV station is showing and on their schedule.

Radio: I don’t have a radio and even if I did, the same problem as above, as being on someone else’s schedule. Not only that, but I can’t multi-task, so if I was to listen to radio, I’d have to sit back and do nothing else. If I were to try reading something else, I’d lose focus on the radio show.

Optical Disc: Some of my favourite shows have hundreds of episodes, so watching every episode of a show this way necessitates a large disc collection, which is not a good idea for someone living in an apartment. It can get very expensive. Not only that, but optical discs are frequently region locked. I can change the region of my playback hardware, but that can only be done a limited number of times. And here I thought I owned outright the hardware I bought. Blu-rays are particularly bad, since to play them on a PC, you have to pay for software to do it: it’s not enough to buy the disc and the hardware player, like with DVDs, but you have to pay for the software too. Not only that, but Blu-rays outright tell me what I am and am not allowed do with my hardware (only one screen can be connected at a time). Considering the price I’ve paid for Blu-rays…the limitations are excessive.

Download: Steam is great at this, and so are a bunch of other services, but at the end of the day, the downloads are frequently tied to an account (notable exceptions are GOG and iTunes music), meaning that we are tied to that service and must do everything to see that it continues to exist, in order for us to continue having those games. If Steam goes belly-up tomorrow, I lose my entire library.

Streaming: works great, only as long as you have a fast and stable Internet connection. However, legal streaming services are crippled. Content is frequently region locked and disappears. Given that the Internet is capable of serving a global audience with no problem at all, it’s incredibly stupid to segment markets, saying to potential customers “You’re in the wrong country, tough shit”

Contrasting all of that, you have the unauthorised downloads, whether through HTTP, FTP, torrents or whatever. It gives me what I’m looking for, no cost. As long as I apply basic security principles, I’m okay.

I want to support the makers of the content that I consume. However, they have to have a way for me to do that that doesn’t massively restrict me, if not outright prevents me from consuming their work. I’ve noticed a new thing starting, Patreon, where popular artists can have their fans chip in very tiny amounts, similar to crowdfunding, but on an ongoing basis. That sounds great. So if an anime studio were to release their content for free download, and invited me to support them via Patreon, I wouldn’t hesitate. I’d do it in a heartbeat. So would a lot of other fans.

Internet Zen Master (profile) says:

Simpler solution

While it’s certainly possible that Putin and his cohorts could use copyright in order to silence any opposition, I propose a much more simple explanation for their decision to double down on useless anti-piracy laws.


I mean, the copyright maximalists must have bribe-er, I mean, “lobbied” something fierce to get the Russian government to actually give a shit about all the infringing content on Russian sites like VK in the first place, right? Whose to say this isn’t just empty lipservice to pacify the constantly whining copyright crowd while Russian officials just sit back and count their money?

Anon E. Mous (profile) says:

It used to be that the Artist/Band and the Producers/Actors needed the record and movie’s big congolmorate to put out their albums/movies because they ran a monopoly to manufacture, distribute, market, stock, and sell the older forms of media.

With the internet and technology the Artists/Bands produscers/Actors can crowdfund to get a movie or albume made or even do it themselves and put their music and films online and cut the Labels and Studio conglomorate out of the mix and the profits which you see more artists doing nowadays.

The Artists/Bands Producers/Actors have other options to get their media to the masses now. The music/movie industry fears losing their grip on huge profits and control.

They have always failed to change and adapt and have always “screamed the sky is falling” as new media formats have evolved…but they stopped screaming as long at they got a cut.

Now you don’t need the industry monopoly to get your favorite band or movie from this or that outlet and Artist/Bands Producers/Actors aren’t hamstrung to the big colomorate if they choose not to be.

All that one needs is a PC and an internet connection With online music/movies gaining popularityalong with streaming media, the recording/movie industry needs to rethink their strategy of how they movie with an ever changing society and technology

Applesauce says:

Censorship is the goal, not a mere by-product

While bribery from the movie/music industry is probably a major factor, the enthusiastic adoption of increasingly draconian “copyright” measures is clearly attributable to the limitless desire of governments for control of all media. The internet, with its easy communication ability for the rabble, horrifies and terrifies governments.

TasMot (profile) says:

Data on the effect of "Laws Against Doing Whatever"

So the copyright people thing more tougher laws will stop infringement. They should look at history. Laws against drinking alcohol didn’t stop manufacturing and consumption of alcoholic drinks. The “Worldwide War on Drugs” hasn’t stopped drug usage. Just look at how many people risked their lives to get Jews and others not of the “Uber race” out of Nazi Germany. Laws didn’t stop any of those things. How are more “anti-infringement” laws going to stop anything. AND, lets stop calling it piracy, it gives the maximalists a sinister name to use. Call them what they really are, something real, “anti-culture for a lifetime” laws.

Anonymous Coward says:

Given that while copyright infringement happens on a massive scale, the only evidence of it’s effect on the businesses involved is either non existent or occasionally positive for individual properties it should be clear to any rational person that enforcement is both expensive and pointless.
There is nothing to be gained at all if infringement were stopped and it would probably have a negative effect on the industries involved albeit probably quite a small effect.
In Russia, as in China it is clear that infringement is not the target it’s the excuse.
Is it really out of bounds to think that the same applies in every other country where IP protection is being pushed at the expense of the public and their own rights.

TasMot (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Given that while copyright infringement happens on a massive scale, the only evidence of it’s effect on the businesses involved is either non existent or occasionally positive for individual properties it should be clear to any rational person that enforcement is both expensive and pointless.

It would be “pointless and expensive” if the copyright industries had to do it themselves. That is why they are insisting that Congress pass laws that they get free money for blank media AND that the intermediaries like ISPs and search engines have to do the expensive policing. Then it gets very cheap for the “infringement crying publishing industry”

Loki says:

Copyright maximlaist are like near relgious zealots. No amount of proof or evidence will disuade them from the beliefs. Nor are they willing to be reasoned with or compromise, and are flat out willing to lie, misrepresent, and alter facts to suit there needs. As a former proponent of copyright a decade ago, dealings/discussions with these people reminds me a lot of my very brief foray into Scientology a couple decades ago.

zip says:

standard European model

By blocking entire sites, Russia seems to be following the standard European model of copyright enforcement. Let’s keep in mind that Europe in general, and even Canada to a large degree, does not have the same viewpoint or traditions of free-speech-at-all-costs rights that exist here in the US. So site-blocking probably seems to them as natural as book-banning.

For instance, Germany sees nothing wrong with banning Mein Kampf and many other books deemed subversive, defamatory, or a threat to “public order” – in a country where conspiracy kooks, trolls, and ranters of all kinds can expect jail terms.

It’s a situation that has made heavy-handed copyright enforcement so much easier to implement around the world, particularly in outright police-state countries, and Hollywood loves it.

Anonymous Coward says:

For years they have been beating on the internet users about infringement and hauling people to court over it with ridiculous fines for doing so. I think I have finally put it all together so that I get the message.

First the content is trash so it’s not worth the bandwidth it takes.

Second if I don’t fool with any of their property that somehow I should just know it is theirs, then I don’t have to worry about the fines at all.

The message has been received. Don’t listen nor watch anything belonging to the entertainment cartels. Since I won’t doing that, this should make them very happy. Especially since now I have no clue as to who is an artist and who is not. I have no connection nor affinity to an actor, his works, or the franchise s/he might be in.

I therefore have absolutely no reason what so ever to spend money on these items I don’t connect with.

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