Russian Copyright Law Allows Entire News Site To Be Shut Down Over A Single Copied Article

from the funny-how-that-works dept

We’ve noted for a long time now that copyright laws are regularly used as a tool for censorship. In Russia, abusing copyright law for censorship and to harass political opponents has become standard. Remember how the Russian government teamed up with Microsoft to use questionable copyright claims to intimidate government critics? And then how the MPAA gleefully got into bed with Russia’s media censor to celebrate copyright? Of course, Russia also expanded its ability to use copyright to censor the internet, following pressure from short-sighted US diplomats, demanding that Russia better “respect” copyright laws.

And now it’s resulting in the taking down of an entire news site. As TorrentFreak reports, news site does appear to have copied a full article from a popular Russian news site Gazeta. That’s certainly an issue, but because of that single copied article, combined with the use of anonymizing the WHOIS record, a Moscow court has ordered the entire site blocked. Think about that for a second and recognize how copyright can be used to shut down an entire publication. Now some will argue that they wouldn’t have any problem if they hadn’t copied that article, but copyright is one of those things that basically everyone infringes on eventually. If you don’t expect this process to be abused to shut down press that powerful individuals in Russia don’t like, then you haven’t been paying much attention.

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Comments on “Russian Copyright Law Allows Entire News Site To Be Shut Down Over A Single Copied Article”

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DannyB (profile) says:

Is this Russia's equivalent of the DMCA?

Or is this some super power that Russian law provides without even the puny protections of the DMCA?

With this kind of power, and the craziness of copyright, and the craziness of some people who promote copyright, it is easy to see that a lot of sites would get shut down. Everyday things. Wikipedia. Blogs and internet forums on a large scale. News sites for even trivial ‘infringements’ that might well be fair use.

Tom Mink (profile) says:


Censorship progression:
A user anonymously posts a copied article and down goes the site. A user maliciously posts that article in order to take down the site. User-derived content goes away because of the liability.

Someone claims copyright over part or all of a legitimate article, taking down the site while the claim is adjudicated.

Finally, news and commentary posted without attribution out of fear of reprisals is attacked as copyright infringement and nobody can safely lodge a counterclaim of authorship.

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