We would like to present the overview of the most important legislation changes in IP, IT and mass communications for 2016.

Record every move!

Federal Law No. 374-FZ on Amendments to the Federal Law on Combating Terrorism and Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation with respect to Establishing Additional Measures for Combating Terrorism and Ensuring Public Safety of July 6, 2016

The law establishes new obligations for communications providers (CPs) and organizers of dissemination of information via the Internet (ODIs). The latter include, for example, social networks, messengers and mail services.

Thus, starting July 1, 2018 a general requirement will come into effect for CPs and ODIs to store the content of users’ messages in Russia. The storage time will be “up to six months.” It is assumed that the procedures, timeframe and volume of data stored will be further specified in statutory acts.

The following amendments entered into effect as of July 2016:

  • The obligation to store metadata (i.e., information about the fact that voice data and messages were received, transmitted, delivered and processed) will apply to communications providers.
  • Previously only ODIs had this obligation. Metadata must also be stored in Russia. The storage periods are three years for CPs and one year for ODIs.
  • CPs and ODIs are required to provide the competent state authorities upon their request with the information to be stored.
  • If ODIs or their users encode messages, then ODIs will also be required to provide the competent state authorities with the information needed to decode users’ messages.

Lawmakers have stiffened the administrative sanctions against ODIs for failure to perform obligations to store and provide the state authorities with metadata, increasing the maximum fine from RUB 500,000 to RUB 1 million, and have introduced administrative sanctions for failure to provide information to decode messages in the form of a maximum fine of RUB 1 million.

Administrative sanctions have also been set for using non-certified encryption facilities when sending messages via the Internet. The maximum fine is RUB 300,000.

Real tax for virtual services

Federal Law No. 244-FZ on Amendments to Parts I and II of the Russian Federation Tax Code of July 3, 2016

Starting January 1, 2017 foreign companies providing Russian customers with e-services, inter alia, via the Internet (“e-services”) will be required to pay VAT at the rate of 15.25% of the cost of the services. The list of e-services includes:

  • Granting rights to use computer programs and databases via the Internet, including the right to access computer programs, such as online games
  • Providing advertising services on the Internet
  • Providing access to Internet search engines
  • IP-telephony services
  • Providing e-books and other content
  • Online broadcasting of television and radio channels

The law stipulates that for the purpose of paying VAT on the sale of e-services an individual customer is considered Russian if that person pays for or acquires the e-service using a Russian bank account, telephone number or IP address, regardless of where that person lives.

Foreign companies providing e-services to individuals (who are not entrepreneurs) and their intermediaries must obtain tax registration in Russia and voluntarily pay the tax.

As before, granting rights to use software and databases under a license agreement is not subject to VAT. However, as soon as the law enters into force when deciding to take advantage of this tax benefit one should analyze the probability of the exercise of those rights being considered an e-service and not a license.

A New Year’s gift for IT companies

Federal Law No. 475-FZ on Amendments to Article 105.14 of Part I and to Part II of the Russian Federation Tax Code of December 28, 2016

The law, which entered into force on January 1, 2017, extends preferential tax treatment for IT companies until 2023. Russian IT companies will continue to have the following discount rates for insurance contributions to the state extrabudgetary funds:

  • 8% for compulsory pension insurance,
  • 2% for compulsory social insurance for temporary disability and maternity leave,
  • 1.8% for compulsory social insurance for temporary disability with respect to payments and other remuneration to foreign citizens and stateless persons staying in the Russian Federation temporarily (other than highly qualified specialists),
  • 4% for compulsory health insurance.

The discount rates for insurance contributions apply provided the following conditions are met:

  • The company is accredited with the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications to engage in IT activity.
  • The percentage of income from IT activity (such as granting of rights to databases and computer programs, developing, adapting, modifying, installing, testing and supporting computer programs and databases) at the end of the reporting period is at least 90% of all of the company’s income for that period.
  • The company has an average of at least seven people on staff over the reporting period.

News aggregator in law

Federal Law No. 208-FZ on Amendments to the Federal Law on Information, Information Technology and Information Protection and the Russian Federation Code on Administrative Offenses of June 23, 2016

The law, which governs the operations of news aggregators, entered into force on January 1, 2017. A news aggregator is understood to mean a website, website page or computer program having the following features: (i) they are used to process and disseminate news information in Russian (and in languages of peoples of Russia) via the Internet, (ii) they may contain advertising targeted at Russian consumers, (iii) they are visited by more than one million Internet users per day.

The law imposes the obligation on owners of news aggregators to comply with a number of requirements as to the content of the news and how it is disseminated, e.g.:

  • To check the facts of socially important information prior to disseminating it.
  • Not to allow socially important information to be concealed or falsified, or misinformation to be disseminated.
  • To store disseminated news information, information about its source and when it was disseminated for six months and provide Roscomnadzor with technical access to that information.

Failure to comply with these requirements may entail an administrative fine of up to RUB 1 million (and up to RUB 3 million for a repeat offense). The owner of the news aggregator is not liable if the information it disseminates is a word-for-word quote of reports disseminated by mass media outlets that are registered in Russia.

Roscomnadzor is the authority tasked with maintaining the register of news aggregators and monitoring their activity. Statutory acts of Roscomnadzor will determine the procedures for counting the number of users of news aggregators per day and other issues of complying with certain provisions of the law.

To protect entrepreneurs from rights holders

The RF Constitutional Court has granted the courts the right to reduce below the legally-set limits the amount of compensation recoverable in cases of individual entrepreneurs’ infringement of rights to several intellectual properties (means of individualization) by a single action. For example, for selling a single counterfeit disk containing several musical works, or office supplies or clothing labeled with two or more trademarks.

There has been much concern about the minimum amount of compensation for this category of dispute. The courts’ discretion in resolving the issue of reducing compensation was limited by law to 50% of the established minimum compensation amount, which is RUB 5,000 per infringement. Cases have been frequent in practice where individual entrepreneurs were forced to pay compensation clearly incommensurate to the losses caused.

By having deemed the very possibility of recovering compensation instead of reimbursing losses in cases of individual entrepreneurs’ infringement of rights to several intellectual properties (means of individualization) by a single action constitutional, the RF Constitutional Court thereby agreed that a court’s inability to reduce the amount of compensation in view of the specific facts of the case was inconsistent with the Constitution. The RF Constitutional Court also named certain facts the courts can consider to reduce the amount of compensation, e.g., the degree of the defendant’s guilt, his financial ability to pay the fine, and the amount of losses caused to the rights holder.

Rospatent’s rules of life

The Rospatent regulatory framework continued to be updated in 2016. Changes affected the state registration of inventions and software, disposition of exclusive right, and the specifics of trademark registration (FIFA).1

Ministry of Economic Development of Russia Order No. 210 of April 5, 2016; Ministry of Economic Development of Russia Order No. 211 of April 5, 2016 (version of October 10, 2016)

The administrative procedure of the state registration of computer programs and databases has been updated and, at the same time, the corresponding rules for completing applications and accompanying documents, the state registration procedures and forms of certificates have been approved. The following changes are important to note:

  • It now takes 62 business days to obtain state registration and issue a certificate.
  • Limits on the volume of materials deposited have been lifted. Now they are submitted in the form of a volume of source text (complete or fragments) sufficient to identify the program or the database.
  • It is allowed to include among the materials deposited preparatory materials obtained in the course of developing the computer program, and also audiovisual images generated by it.
  • The list of information to be included in the abstract has been expanded; the abstract should not be more than 900 symbols long.

Ministry of Economic Development of Russia Order No. 315 of May 25, 2016 (version of October 10, 2016); Ministry of Economic Development of Russia Order No. 316 of May 25, 2016

The procedure for registering inventions has changed. The following changes should be noted:

  • It takes 34 months to provide the government service.
  • The definition of the nature of the invention has been expanded, in particular now complexes and sets also apply to products, together with devices, substances, microbial strains and other biological objects.
  • Information retrieval procedures are now regulated in detail.

New procedure was enacted for state registration of disposition of an exclusive right to an intellectual property under a contract. The new regulation has closed a gap that had existed since the 2014 amendments to the RF Civil Code. The procedure states that it can take 68 business days to provide that government service from the date Rospatent receives an application.

An interesting addition is this order stipulating special aspects of the registration and use of FIFA-related intellectual property when preparing for and holding sporting events. The order was adopted in order to implement Federal Law No. 108-FZ2 and provides for fast-tracking of registration when granting legal protection to FIFA symbols.

1 FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) is the international federal of football associations that is the international sports governing body coordinating football as a type of sport. It was established and operates in accordance with the laws of its country of registration.

2 Federal Law No. 108-FZ on Preparation for and Holding in the Russian Federation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation of June 7, 2013.

RF Government Resolution No. 968 on Restrictions and Conditions for the Admission of Certain Types of Electronic Products Originating in Foreign Countries for the Purposes of Making Procurement for State and Municipal Needs of September 26, 2016

The RF Government has set limits on allowing certain categories of electronics to participate in public procurement. Products for which limits have been introduced include laptops, office equipment (printers, scanners, etc.) and other types of electronic equipment of varying functionality, including telecommunications equipment. State and municipal government customers are required to reject all bids containing offers to supply such products if they originate from foreign states other than EAEU member states. This obligation is in effect only if at least two bids that contain offers to supply the relevant electronic products manufactured in the Russian Federation or EAEU member states have been submitted in identifying the supplier. In addition to the limits as such, the RF Government Resolution also envisions criteria for treating products as being manufactured in the Russian Federation (EAEU) and documents confirming the equipment’s country of origin.

The laws on the national payment system have been supplemented with a number of rules enshrining a legal entity subscriber’s right to use money paid in advance for corporate communications to top up individuals’ digital wallets. This opportunity depends on a number of conditions (such as having a contract or another ground on which the individual whose digital wallet is being topped up acts on behalf of the legal entity subscriber, and also that there be a special agreement between the individual and the communications provider).

Here are my documents: Whiskers, paws and an electronic signature!

The Russian Federation legislation continues to move toward simplifying the mechanisms for identifying financial institution clients. According to the new rules that entered into force on September 1, 2016, a credit institution may open a bank account for a Russian legal entity without its representative being present if the legal entity’s general director has already been identified in person by the credit institution. However, in this case the account opening process is complicated by the obligation of the legal entity’s general director to use an enhanced encrypted electronic signature when submitting the information required to open the account to the credit institution.

Federal Law No. 314-FZ on Amendments to Article 1294 of Part IV of the Russian Federation Civil Code and the Federal Law on the Contract System in the Procurement of Goods, Work and Services for State and Municipal Needs of July 3, 2016

Special aspects of concluding urban planning and architecture contracts have been established. For example, a contract to create a work of architecture, urban planning or garden or park art must contain a condition that the state or municipal customer holds “the exclusive right to use the work by developing design documentation and producing the work.” This wording leaves room for doubt as to whether this means the exclusive right or granting the right of use under an exclusive license.

The contract must stipulate the customer’s right to reuse the design documentation developed on the basis of the work of architecture, urban planning or garden or park art, without its author’s consent. It is stated that the author of the work is not entitled to demand that a contract be concluded with him for development of the design documentation, and the respective contractor must be identified by competitive procedures.

Finally, contracts for the performance of design and/or survey works must also contain conditions that the state or municipal customer holds the exclusive right to the results of the works performed.

The corresponding amendments were made to Article 1294 of the RF Civil Code and Federal Law No. 44-FZ. According to the explanatory note, the changes are intended, inter alia, to minimize budgetary expenditures when reusing design documentation developed at the expense of or by raising public funds.

Cumulative overview of IP, IT and mass communications law in 2010–2016

2010. Free use becomes less free (Federal Law No. 259-FZ of October 4, 2010). Amendments were made to Article 1273 of the RF Civil Code establishing that free personal use of an author’s work can only be done if “necessary” (an evaluative criterion).

2010. Reward finds an author (RF Government Resolution No. 829 of October 14, 2010). Lists of equipment and tangible media were established for which the manufacture and import triggers the charging of a fee for unhindered reproduction of audio tracks and works. The fee is 1% of the sale price for a unit of product (for manufacturers) or 1% of the customs value of a unit of product (for importers).

2012. State IP: to preserve and multiply (RF Government Resolution No. 233 on Approval of the Rules for State Procurers to Manage the Rights of the Russian Federation to Civilian, Military, Special and Dual-Purpose Intellectual Property of March 22, 2012, Federal Law No. 174-FZ on the Advanced Research Foundation of October 16, 2012). The Advanced Research Foundation was created to fund high-risk research and development. It was determined that only the director of the public customer in question can decide that it is no longer necessary for the RF to retain the right to IP.

2013. Applicable law for licenses and agreements (Federal Law No. 260-FZ of September 30, 2013). Rules on the governing law applicable to certain transactions were changed. The provisions of Article 1211 of the RF Civil Code on the determination of the law applicable to an agreement where there is no agreement of the parties on the choice of governing law were amended.

2014. Agreements we’ve been waiting for (Federal Law No. 35-FZ of March 12, 2014). Major changes were made to Part IV of the RF Civil Code. The alienation of an exclusive right and the granting of an exclusive worldwide license for the entire period of validity of the exclusive right in relations between commercial entities was prohibited (Articles 1234 and 1235 of the RF Civil Code). The concept of an open license/license agreement granting a simple (non-exclusive) license to use a work concluded according to a simplified procedure was introduced (Article 1286.1 of the RF Civil Code). The transition was made from an examination to an application system of state registration of intellectual property contracts. The rules of Articles 1296 and 1297 of the Civil Code on the allocation by default of the rights to computer programs and databases created under contracts (by order or as a “byproduct”) now apply to other copyrighted items as well.

2014. Know-how and patents: fewer formalities, better protection (Federal Law No. 35-FZ of March 12, 2014). As part of reforming Part IV of the RF Civil Code the rules on industrial property underwent considerable changes. Commercial secrecy procedures are no longer a mandatory feature for such an item of exclusive rights as know-how: it is enough for the holder to use “reasonable confidentiality measures.” The validity periods of patents on industrial designs and utility models were changed: for industrial designs now five years with the possibility of extension, but not more than 25 years; and for utility models 10 years without the possibility of extension. The simplified patenting procedure for a utility model was eliminated (now an expert review will be done on the merits with mandatory information retrieval).

2014. The author’s share (RF Government Resolution No. 512 of June 4, 2014). Rules for paying remuneration for inventions, utility models and industrial designs made-forhire were approved. These include instances when there is no employee-employer arrangement on the payment of royalties, in which case the government-set royalty rates apply (for example, a 10% royalty under a license agreement).

2015. Antimonopoly law – standing on guard for intellectual property (Federal Law No. 275-FZ of October 5, 2015). Amendments were made to the Federal Law on Protection of Competition that reassigned the various types of unfair competition to separate articles.

2016. He who orders the architectural design implements it (Federal Law No. 314-FZ of July 3, 2016). Special aspects of concluding urban planning and architecture contracts were established to minimize budgetary expenditures when using works of architecture, urban planning or garden or park art and the related design documentation developed at the expense of or by raising public funds.

2016. To protect entrepreneurs from rights holders (RF Constitutional Court Ruling No. 28-P of December 13, 2016). The RF Constitutional Court agreed that a court’s inability to reduce the amount of compensation in view of the specific facts of the case was inconsistent with the Constitution. The RF Constitutional Court also named certain facts of the case the courts can consider to reduce the amount of compensation, e.g., the degree of the defendant’s guilt, his financial ability to pay the fine, and the amount of losses caused to the rights holder.

2010. Tax benefits: for IT companies and others (Federal Laws No. 272-FZ of October 16, 2010, No. 434-FZ of December 8, 2010 and No. 395-FZ of December 28, 2010). Discount rates on insurance contributions to the Pension Fund, Social Insurance Fund and Federal Compulsory Health Insurance Fund were reinstated until 2019 for IT companies. Payers of profit tax were granted the right to independently determine the useful life expectancy of some kinds of intangible assets, in particular, the exclusive right to inventions, computer programs and databases.

2010. Skolkovo: a tax paradise (Federal Law No. 244-FZ on the Skolkovo Innovation Center of September 28, 2010, Federal Law No. 243-FZ of September 28, 2010). Skolkovo project participants receive the right to tax preferences (simplified accounting, VAT, profit tax and property tax exemptions, reduced insurance contribution rates) for 10 years.

2015. Made in Russia (Federal Law No. 188-FZ of June 29, 2015, RF Government Resolution No. 1236 of November 16, 2015). The launching of the Consolidated Register of Russian Computer Programs and Databases on January 1, 2016. When procuring software for federal or municipal government needs the customer is required to give priority to programs included in the Register.

2016. Real tax for virtual services (Federal Law No. 244-FZ on Amendments to Parts I and II of the Russian Federation Tax Code of July 3, 2016). Starting January 1, 2017 foreign companies providing Russian customers with e-services will be required to pay VAT at the rate of 15.25% of the cost of the services (the so-called “Google tax”).

2010. Electronic justice: all online! (Federal Law No. 228-FZ on Amendments to the RF Commercial Procedure Code of July 27, 2010). It became possible as of November 1, 2010 to take a range of procedural actions in electronic form in commercial arbitration proceedings.

2011. Signature valid! (Federal Law No. 63-FZ on Electronic signature of April 6, 2011). The use of the electronic signature (e-signature) in civil commerce was considerably expanded. Different types of e-signature are possible and they differ depending on reliability and how difficult it is to get one: a simple electronic signature, an enhanced encrypted non-certified electronic signature, an enhanced encrypted and certified electronic signature. Both individuals and legal entities may use electronic signatures. 2011. E-money in legislation (Federal Law No. 161-FZ on the National Payment System of June 27, 2011). The use of electronic funds was regulated at the legislative level for the first time.

2012. Progress in process (RF Supreme Court Plenum Ruling No. 3 of February 9, 2012). The RF Supreme Court clarified that an SMS notification is an acceptable way of notifying parties to court proceedings.

2012. IT at notaries’ service (Federal Law No. 166-FZ of October 2, 2012). The possibility of taking notarial actions with e-documents using a notary’s encrypted and certified electronic signature.

2016. Here are my documents: Whiskers, paws and an electronic signature! (Federal Law No. 191-FZ of June 23, 2016). A credit institution may open a bank account for a Russian legal entity without its representative being present if the legal entity’s general director has already been identified in person by the credit institution.

2016. Mobile corporate wallet (Federal Law No. 288-FZ of July 3, 2016). Legal entity subscribers may use money paid in advance for corporate communications to top up individuals’ digital wallets.

2010. Personal data: waiting for change (Federal Law No. 227–FZ of July 27, 2010; Federal Law No. 359-FZ of December 23, 2010). It was envisioned that a written consent should contain a handwritten signature. Only an e-document signed with an electronic signature is equivalent to a written document.

2011. Personal data in detail (Federal Law No. 261-FZ of July 25, 2011). Further obligations of personal-data operators were specified (to appoint a person responsible for organizing personal data processing; to issue bylaws on personal data processing issues; to use certified data protection facilities, etc.)

2013. Personal data: in Russia and abroad (Federal Law No. 99-FZ of May 7, 2013). Russia ratified the Convention of the Council of Europe for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data. Claimants can now file claims for protection of personal data with their local courts. Russian courts can consider cases concerning personal data violations by foreign organizations if the claimant is a Russian Federation resident.

2013. Double check it (Federal Law No. 142-FZ of July 2, 2013). It is now prohibited to distribute any false information concerning a specific person, irrespective of whether the information is defamatory. Article 152.2 of the RF Civil Code expressly prohibits the gathering, storage, distribution or use of any information concerning a citizen’s private life without his/her permission.

2013. Intermediaries not guilty (RF Constitutional Court Ruling No. 18-P of July 9, 2013). The owner of a website not registered as a mass medium is not liable for third parties publishing false or misleading information on the site, provided the information intermediary meets the requirements of Article 17(3) of the Federal Law on Information, Information Technology and Information Protection.

2014. Personal data stay in Russia! (Federal Law No. 242-FZ of July 21, 2014). When collecting personal data, including over the Internet, the operator must ensure that Russian citizens’ personal data are processed using databases located in Russia. The rule became effective on September 1, 2015.

2015. New songs on the main (the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications clarifications of the localization provisions). It was clarified that personal-data operators are entitled to transmit personal data of Russians to foreign countries provided the data are first recorded in databases located in Russia.

2011. Broadcast for all! (Federal Law No. 142-FZ on Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation in Connection with Improving Legal Regulation in the Mass Media of June 14, 2011). The terms “television channel,” “radio channel” and “online publication.” The list of types of mass media was expanded. A universal license to broadcast in any environment (air, satellite, cable) was introduced. The concept of Russian national mandatory public access television and radio channels that must be free for subscribers was introduced.

2014. Advertising not for everyone (Federal Law No. 270-FZ on Amendments to Article 14 of the Federal Law on Advertising of July 21, 2014). January 1, 2015 saw the entry into force of a ban on the dissemination of advertising on cable television channels.

2014. Foreign mass media: living under new rules (Federal Law No. 305-FZ of October 14, 2014). Amendments were made to the Law on the Mass Media that as of January 1, 2016 limited the ability of foreign entities to control Russian mass media to direct or indirect holding of 20% of the shares (participatory interests) in the charter capital of companies owning Russian media.

2015. Advertising amnesty for Russian content (Federal Law No. 5-FZ of February 3, 2015, FAS Russia Order No. 405/15 of June 1, 2015). An exception was made to the ban on the dissemination of advertising on cable television channels that entered into force on January 1, 2015, for TV channels whose content features at least 75 percent “national” mass media products, i.e., whose production investments are no less than 50 percent Russian.

2015. Mass media control under control (RF Government Resolution No. 1107 of October 16, 2015; Federal Law No. 464-FZ of December 30, 2015). The basic set of documents evidencing direct or indirect foreign control over mass media was approved. A rule was added to the Law on the Mass Media requiring mass media to notify Roscomnadzor on a quarterly basis of funds received from foreign entities, companies featuring foreign participation and NPOs deemed foreign agents (financing above RUB 15,000). Tough sanctions for the violation of this obligation were introduced to the Code on Administrative Offenses.

2011. Protecting electronic signals (Federal Law No. 420-FZ of December 7, 2011). Amendments were made to the RF Criminal Code concerning cybercrimes, and elements of a crime were provided for. The term “computer information.”

2012. Fraud shall not pass (Federal Law No. 207-FZ of November 29, 2012). Article 159-6 establishing responsibility for cyberfraud was added to the RF Criminal Code. This crime was classed among serious crimes against property.

2013. Data transparency (Federal Law No. 112-FZ of June 7, 2013). The term “open data.” State authorities have an obligation to publish information online in the form of open data.

2013. Fight spam! (Federal Antimonopoly Service of Russia Letter No. AK/43077/13 of October 31, 2013). Criteria were defined for information required by the supervisory authority to determine that a subscriber has received an unwanted advertisement. The actions to be taken by a subscriber to ensure that FAS Russia is able to obtain all the necessary information were listed.

2014. Keeping tabs on the Internet (Federal Law No. 97-FZ of May 5, 2014). The terms “organizer of dissemination of information” and “blogger.” Organizers of dissemination of information are required to store information about communication among users and information about the users themselves for six months. A special rule was introduced determining the procedure for restricting access to an information resource of an organizer of dissemination of information on the Internet who fails to comply with the legal requirements. A register of bloggers (defined as owners of websites or pages accessed by more than 3,000 users per day) was created; the register is kept by Roscomnadzor. Bloggers are responsible for fact checking posted information and deleting false information, and are prohibited from using their website to conceal or falsify socially significant information.

2014. Restrictions for SMS direct mailing (Federal Law No. 272-FZ on Amendments to the Federal Law on Communications of July 21, 2014). The term “mailing on a mobile telephone communications network.” SMS direct mailing can be done only with the subscriber’s prior consent.

2014. Anonymous not allowed (RF Government Resolution No. 758 of July 31, 2014). Communications providers are required to identify any user connected to a public access point (including via Wi-Fi) and to obtain from their legal entity subscribers information about all individuals who use the entity’s equipment to access the Internet. User identification means finding out the first name, last name and patronymic of the individual and the details of their ID.

2015. Forget – no, mercy (Federal Law No. 264-FZ of July 13, 2015). The term “search engine.” The “right to be forgotten”: a new mechanism for the regulation of information technology. The search engine operator must cease and desist the display of links to inaccurate information, and also to accurate but “outdated” information.

2016. News aggregator in law (Federal Law No. 208-FZ of June 23, 2016). The term “owner of a news aggregator.” Owners of news aggregators are required to comply with a number of requirements having to do with news information content and dissemination.

2017. A draft law regulating the activity of yet another player, the “organizer of an audiovisual service on information and telecommunication networks” is being considered by the State Duma.

2010. Online media: not liable for readers (RF Supreme Court Plenum Ruling No. 16 on the Practice of Application by the Courts of the Russian Federation Law on the Mass Media of June 15, 2010). The editors of an online media outlet are not responsible for reader comments posted without prior editing, for example, on a website forum.

2010. Mind the children! (Federal Law No. 436-FZ on Protecting Children from Information Harmful to Their Health and Development of December 29, 2010). The law contains a description of the information that is prohibited from dissemination among children and information for which dissemination is restricted among children of certain age groups. Producers and disseminators of information products are required to rate such information before it is put into circulation.

2012. Child labeling (Federal Law No. 139-FZ of July 28, 2012). Significant changes to the classification and labeling of information products. Expansions to the list of exceptions to unlabeled use.

2012. Black-black list (Federal Law No. 139-FZ of July 28, 2012). The terms “website, “website page,” “domain name,” “IP address,” “website owner” and “hosting provider.” The procedure of out-of-court blocking was first introduced to law and a Register of Banned Websites was created. Child pornography, drug production and suicide methods are banned.

2013. Beware: children! (Roscomnadzor, Federal Drug Control Service of Russia and Rospotrebnadzor Order No. 1022/368/666 of September 11, 2013). An official description of the criteria for identifying materials containing information the dissemination of which is prohibited in the Russian Federation.

2013. Radical penalties for extremist information (Federal Law No. 398-FZ of December 28, 2013). The mechanism for out-of-court blocking was applied to information resources in which information containing calls for mass disorder, extremist activity, or participation in mass (public) events against the established order.

2015. Religious texts yes – extremism no (Federal Law No. 314-FZ of November 23, 2015). It is clarified that the Bible, the Koran, Tanakh and Kangyur, their content and verses therefrom can not be deemed extremist materials.

2016. Record every move! (Federal Law No. 374-FZ of July 6, 2016, the co-called “Yarovaya Law”). New obligations were introduced for communications providers and organizers of dissemination of information via the Internet: storage of content of users’ messages, storage of metadata about messages, and submission to the competent authorities of information to be stored and data for decoding it.

2011. Provider, don’t distance! (Russian Federation Supreme Commercial Court Presidium Ruling No. 6672/11 of November 1, 2011, the “Agava-soft” case). The Presidium of the RF Supreme Commercial Court formulated criteria for releasing an Internet provider from responsibility for content posted by users. If a provider does not take action to curtail violations of exclusive rights or if it pointedly and publicly tries to distance itself from the content the court may hold the provider guilty of and accountable for the offense.

2013. Not watching, block it (or vice versa?) (Federal Law No. 187-FZ of July 2, 2013, the so-called “Antipiracy Law”). Combating online video piracy. The possibility of blocking Internet resources as a form of interim relief taken upon application of the rights holder before a claim is filed in court.

2014. Lifetime block (Federal Law No. 364-FZ of November 24, 2014). The new “Antipiracy Law” extended the blocking mechanism as injunctive relief not only to movies, but also to all other works of copyright and/or related rights (except for photographs). Permanent blocking became possible for repeated copyright infringement.

2015. New antipiracy law enters into force. For the first time ever, the Decision by the Moscow City Court satisfied a claim seeking a permanent ban on access to websites (Bazilevs Distribution vs. Compubyte Limited, No. 3-401/2015). Roscomnadzor Recommendations on the basic approaches to the implementation of Articles 15.2, 15.6 and 15.7 of the Federal Law on Information, Information Technology and Information Protection were drafted in coordination with the community of rights holders.

2010. Customs Union: a register for three (Agreement on a Common Customs Registry of Intellectual Property of Customs Union Member States). A Common Customs Registry of Intellectual Property was created and may include items protected by copyrights and related rights, trademarks and service marks protected in any of the Customs Union member states.

2010. Encryption: notify and import (Eurasian Economic Union Interstate Board Decision No. 19 of November 27, 2009 and Customs Union Committee Decision No. 132 on Unified Non-Tariff Regulation of the Customs Union of the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation of November 27, 2009). Liberal rules for exporting and importing encryption facilities—notification—were developed within the Customs Union framework. Notification is valid for a particular type of encryption facility for an unlimited time and any importers and exporters can refer to it.

2011. Accession to the WTO: notification stands (Protocol on the Accession of Russia to the WTO). After joining the WTO Russia cancelled import licenses for more than a dozen types of products containing cryptographic components, providing for a simpler notification procedure. Gambling

2014. Games of chance under control! (Federal Law No. 222-FZ of July 21, 2014). Regulation of activity to conduct games of chance at bookmakers’ offices and betting shops was clarified. A website used to engage in such activity can be blocked for violating legislative requirements.

2015. Cards, money, Internet (RF Government Resolution No. 452 on Additional Requirements Binding on the Organizers of Games of Chance of May 8, 2015). Additional requirements were approved to organizers of games of chance at bookmakers’ offices and betting shops accepting interactive bets, including those transmitted via electronic payment systems. The Resolution fails to provide a direct answer to the question of whether bets can be accepted over the Internet; however, it may be considered as evidence of movement toward the legalization of the online activities of bookmakers’ offices and betting shops.

2014. Games of chance under control! (Federal Law No. 222-FZ of July 21, 2014). Regulation of activity to conduct games of chance at bookmakers’ offices and betting shops was clarified. A website used to engage in such activity can be blocked for violating legislative requirements.

2015. Cards, money, Internet (RF Government Resolution No. 452 on Additional Requirements Binding on the Organizers of Games of Chance of May 8, 2015). Additional requirements were approved to organizers of games of chance at bookmakers’ offices and betting shops accepting interactive bets, including those transmitted via electronic payment systems. The Resolution fails to provide a direct answer to the question of whether bets can be accepted over the Internet; however, it may be considered as evidence of movement toward the legalization of the online activities of bookmakers’ offices and betting shops.