On 24 November 2014, the Russian President signed into law a bill introducing amendments to the so-called Anti-piracy Law[1] and expanding its scope to all types of copyright-protected content available on the Internet, except for photographs (the “Law“)[2]. The Law will take effect on 1 May 2015.

Under the Law the following procedure will become available for copyright and related rights holders wishing to restrict access to audio-visual works which have been placed on the Internet illegally:

  • the right holder may seek before the Moscow City Court a preliminary injunction against illegal use of content on a particular Internet website;
  • upon obtaining a preliminary injunction, the right holder may file an application with the Russian state authority in charge – Roskomnadzor[3] – seeking restriction of access to a website containing infringing content;
  • further, within three business days Roskomnadzor must determine the hosting provider  and send an electronic notification requesting the removal of the infringing content;
  • within one business day from the date of receipt of notification of the hosting provider must  inform the website owner of the necessity to immediately remove the infringing content from the website or restrict access to such content;
  • within one business day from the date of receipt of notification of the website owner must  remove the infringing content;
  • in case the website owner fails to do so, the hosting provider must restrict the access to website within three business days from the date of receipt of Roskomnadzor’s notification;
  • in case the website owner and/or the hosting provider fail to restrict access to the website, Roskomnadzor sends the information on such website to telecom operators, which must restrict access to the website within twenty-four hours.

In addition to the above procedure, the Law allows the right holder to undertake an out-of-court measure by sending a complaint to the website owner. Within 24 hours from the complaint’s receipt the website owner must cease the infringement or present proof evidencing the lawful use of content on the website. To make this work the Law obliges the website owners to disclose his/her/its name, address and email on the website.

The Law further provides for a possibility of perpetual restriction of access to the website where infringing content was placed repeatedly and this has been confirmed by the court’s ruling. Upon such court’s ruling Roskomnadzor sends the information on such website to telecom operators which in turn must restrict access to the website within twenty-four hours upon receipt of the Roskomnadzor’s notification.

Parallel Initiatives: New Anti-Piracy Legislation vs. Anti-Piracy Fee for Internet Content

In parallel with the discussion on the amendments to the Law the Russian Union of Right Holders (the “RUR“) has proposed fighting piracy by introducing a fixed royalty fee to be paid by the telecom operators to right holders in exchange for unlimited use of almost all types of content on Internet. It is suggested the royalty will be collected by a collecting society accredited by the state. This initiative is now under consideration by the Russian Government.

These two parallel processes (one – introduction of a thorough anti-piracy legislation; and another – introduction of a fixed royalty fee for unlimited use of content on Internet) clearly do not look like a perfect match. We are closely watching both initiatives and will provide further updates.