On 4 March 2022, the Kommersant Publishing House published an article which stated that the Russian authorities are urgently preparing measures to support the economy due to ongoing sanctions pressure. The article suggested that one such measure could be the abolition of criminal and administrative liability for the use of pirated software from countries that support sanctions against Russia. This has resulted in speculation on the Internet that IP piracy is gaining traction in Russia.
This suggestion has caused concern among Russian IT companies, which have described the measure as destructive and dangerous, and indicated that it would have obvious and immediate negative consequences for import substitution and the domestic IT business.
Russian IT associations pointed out that allowing the illegal use of foreign software would instantly make it free, while users would still have to pay for domestic IT solutions. Therefore, it would be difficult for Russian IT products to compete with "free" foreign products that are familiar to users.(1)
However, it has since been confirmed that there are no proposals for a law to waive responsibility for the use of unlicensed software in Russia.(2) Russia therefore continues to be party to all international IP conventions and offers the same level of protection for both Russian and foreign rights holders.
For further information on this topic please contact Nikita Maltsev at Gorodissky & Partners by telephone (+7 495 937 6116) or email ([email protected]). The Gorodissky & Partners website can be accessed at www.gorodissky.com.
(1) See a letter sent by Russian IT organisations to the Ministry of Digital Development (the text of the letter is in accordance with the article published in Forbes Russia).
(2) See a statement by the Ministry of Digital Development and an article in Vedomosti, both dated 11 March 2022.