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A new anti-piracy law passed in Russia could see courts order the blocking of websites offering movies and TV series.
The law, passed by the lower house of the Russian parliament on June 21, will allow copyright holders instant help from the courts over suspected infringements on their IP rights.
Courts will then be able to order suspected websites to be removed before passing a formal ruling on whether they have been acting illegally.
If a website fails to comply with a court order it could be placed on a blacklist.
Originally the plans were due to apply to all forms of copyrighted content, including music, but protection will only be given to video-related content.
Igor Motsnyi, IP and technology lawyer and partner of Motsnyi Legal Services in Russia , told WIPR the changes had been criticised by the country’s internet industry as being “one sided” in favour of the movie industry.
“I would note that while amendments to the Civil Code of Russia provide for exemptions from liability for all IP infringements, the amendments to the law set up a special notice procedure only in the case of infringements of IP rights in movies and TV series,” he said.
Under the laws no sanctions would be available against downloaders of pirated videos.
The Russian Association for Electronic Communications (RAEC), a lobby group, is among those to have reacted with anger.
It has predicted consequences including destroying the digital content market and placing a financial burden on telecoms operators who may have to answer law suits.
A statement on its official website read: “It should be noted that the implementation of the norms of the bill in its current form will not contribute to a significant reduction in the consumption of illegal content, but will reduce the consumption of legal content like movies, and other kinds.”
Motsnyi added: “I believe the new laws may bring more confusion than positive results. They should have been better drafted and certainly need clear definitions.
“We already have a fairly large number of court cases related to Internet related IP infringements and believe we will have more cases after the laws come into force.”
The final stage of the bill will require signing off by President Vladimir Putin before it becomes law. If so, it will enter into effect on August 1.
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online piracy, ISPs, RAEC, Russia, Vladimir Putin