Business

Russian leaders discuss self-regulation on anti-piracy

Above: Russian President Vladimir Putin

Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

This story has been slightly edited from the original version.

The Russian government has met with representatives of Russian media and Internet companies to discuss ways to counter piracy in Russia, with a focus on the area of e-commerce.

The meetings are of interest because Russia is widely viewed as having a piracy problem.

Last Friday, the first deputy director of Russia’s presidential administration, Vyacheslav Volodin, met industry leaders and created a working group that will prepare amendments to the anti-piracy law (effective since August 1, 2013) and to legislative acts that are being prepared in the field of e-commerce in particular.

Among the participants were top managers of leading Internet and media companies operating in Russia, including Arkady Volozh, the CEO of search engine giant Yandex; Maëlle Gavet, CEO of major e-commerce site Ozon.ru; and the chief editors of RIA Novosti news agency and opposition-minded radio station Ekho Moskvy. Also attending were representatives of Google Russia, Mail.ru Group, the Afisha-Rambler-Sup group, and others.

Representatives of Internet companies will participate in the working group, according to Yandex press secretary Asya Melkumova. A wide range of issues will be discussed in the near future.

“We were promised that a meeting will be scheduled and that the government is interested in the fact that the market is moving towards self-regulation,” added Melkumova.

Internet companies have repeatedly criticized the antipiracy law, believing that it will block bona fide sites. At the meeting with Volodin, the representatives of Internet companies once again complained that their wishes had practically not been taken into account during the drafting of the law. As a result, only the position of copyright holders was taken into consideration in the law. In mid-September, the working group will discuss a new package of amendments to the anti-piracy law that was developed by the Ministry of Culture.

When developing and discussing all amendments, RIA Novosti chief editor Svetlana Myronyuk suggested taking into account the costs for businesses in implementing the law. “For example, RIA Novosti spent 8,000,000 rubles on moderation of content. RIA Novosti cannot afford such expenses, and small and medium enterprises certainly cannot,” warned Myronyuk.

In addition, representatives of Internet business asked to bring regional companies into the discussion, since legal practice and reality may be very different in these areas than in the capital. To this end, they proposed using the Popular Front, a nationwide political initiative launched in 2011 to support Vladimir Putin, and Volodin endorsed the idea.

The meeting took place a day after after President Vladimir Putin said that he was ready to personally understand the details of the anti-piracy legislation. “I am ready to look into this and see because it’s really a very important thing. Here intellectual property rights must be ensured, but this cannot be overdone, so as to not kill the Internet,” Putin said at a meeting of the Human Rights Council.

The anti-piracy law was passed shortly after Putin met with Russian filmmakers, who complained to him about the dominance of Internet piracy. The current version of law protects only movies and TV series, but members of the Russian Parliament have already promised to extend the law to include music, books, and software.

This story originally appeared on EWDN.


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