In Summer 2013 the Duma adopted a law allowing a rights holder to block websites carrying unlicensed content. If the rights holder discovers such content on the Internet, it may submit a complaint to the court asking for an injunction and for the site to be blocked. The court will then examine the case, grant an injunction and issue a ruling, which may also go to the State Agency for Information Technologies and Communications (Roskomnadzor). Roskomnadzor will identify the file-hosting service within three days and send a notification to it demanding that the controversial content be removed.
Enough time has now passed since the adoption of the law to show that it works. According to Roskomnadzor, the popularity of legal video sites has grown by as much as 40%. In addition, some former pirate sites have announced that they are to operate legally. Since the anti-piracy law came into force the Moscow courts, responding to requests by rights holders, has limited access to around 100 pirate sites. Of those, 33 rulings were cancelled, site administrators removed illegal content in 49 cases and access to the uncooperating sites remained limited in 12 cases.
In the meantime, the violation of copyright on the Internet has led to the first criminal sentence. The Prosecutor’s Office found that the infringer had uploaded pirated copies of films to his site www.ironclub.tv. After that, anybody could freely download the desired content. The films included Titanic, Die Hard and The Hangover Part III. The court recognised that the infringer had caused damage of $60,000.
A similar verdict was issued in October 2013 in respect of a married couple who illegally circulated more than 30 films on the Internet; however, they appealed their sentence and it has not yet come in force.
By all accounts, the new law has set high standards for copyright protection.
This article first appeared in IAM magazine. For further information please visit www.iam-magazine.com