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Anti-piracy law will start protecting music only from 2016

0 2 July 2014

A new anti-piracy law could already be enacted by the end of the summer session of the Russian parliament. The measure would allow the authorities to block sites sharing pirated content on Russian net. However, its extention to music is expected to come into force only at the beginning of 2016, as stated by the vice-Minister of Communications Aleksey Volin. According to him, this is due to complications in the bureaucratic administrative machine.

Grigory Ivliev, vice-Minister of Culture, argues that the government has always introduced anti-piracy measures gradually, and that music will fall under the effect of the law in one year and a half. He reckons that this is connected with the sheer gigantic volume of pirated music files on the Internet, which could lead to an endless series of arguments.

The current anti-piracy law in vigour in Russia since August 2013 provides the blocking of sites storing pirated content. As of now, the blocking is ruled by the city of Moscow court: if the court considers the authority's complaint legitimate, it proceeds to block the site.

At first, the anti-piracy law concerned only films and tv series. The measure was approved after Russian cinematographers complained to President Vladimir Putin about Internet piracy. However, that sparked the outrage of other industries (musicians, publishing houses, etc.), claiming that the law protected only one type of content.

After a long debate, vice-Premier Igor Shubalov appointed the Ministry of Communications and the Ministry of Culture with the task of creating a collaborative project of a new anti piracy bill, which was introduced to the Russian parliament last week. The project, corrected with Zheleznyak's amendments, must be passed by Gosduma by the end of the summer session.

Leonid Agronov, general director of the National Federation of the music industry, states that the music industry fully endorses the anti-piracy law, since it provides authors with real weapons against the spread of illegal content on the Internet. However, he adds that sites sharing pirated music can take a breath of relief, since they have been granted an extra year and a half of untamed business. As Agronov estimates, Russian music industry loses up to 700 mln $ each year because of internet piracy. Indeed, the main damage affects Russian music, since international musicians gain profit in many other countries, where authors' right are effectively protected.

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