On 1 July 2017, the Russian president signed Federal Law No. 156-FZ "On the Introduction of Amendments into the Federal Law "On Information, Information Technology and the Protection of Information" (the Law).

The changes in the law provide a procedure for limiting access to copies of sites that have repeatedly and illegally placed material protected by copyright or neighboring rights or information necessary for obtaining such material with the use of information/telecommunication networks, including the Internet.

The Law also establishes the procedure for removing such sites from search results. The new rules will come into force from 1 October 2017.

What the Law says

Limiting access to copies (mirrors) of blocked sites

The Law provides for an additional tool to enforce IP rights and proceed against the illegal use of material protected by copyright or neighboring rights by establishing a ban on providing access to copies of sites that were previously permanently blocked by the Moscow City Court.

Furthermore, not only a site that is identical, but also a site that is confusingly similar may be recognized as a copy of a site blocked earlier. Confusing similarity shall be established by the Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications in a procedure that is yet to be prescribed by the Russian Government.

The procedure for limiting access can be initiated at the request of the rights holder or state executive bodies. Access to a site that has been recognized as a copy of a blocked site through the established procedure must be limited by the communications operator within one day of receiving the relevant demand from Roskomnadzor (the agency overseeing communications matters in Russia).

Removal of information on copies (mirrors) of blocked sites from search results

In accordance with the amendments, the permanent limiting of access to infringing sites and their copies is accompanied by removal of information on the relevant sites from search results by search engine operators.

The operators of search engines distributing advertisements that are designed to draw users’ attention to information about such sites must stop providing information about such sites within one day of receiving the appropriate demand from Roskomnadzor.