Russian Lawmakers Look to Amend Controversial Anti-Piracy Law
Internet providers could face heavy fines for failure to block access to pirated material.
MOSCOW – In a bid to amend a recently enacted but heavily criticized anti-piracy law, Russian lawmakers have proposed heavy fines for Internet providers that fail to block pirate websites.
Under an amendment, co-authored by director Stanislav Govorukhin, Internet providers could be fined between $9,000 (300,000 rubles) and $30,000 (1 million rubles) for failure to block access to websites that offer pirated content.
Private individuals could be fined $145, and company officials $1,450.
The recently enacted law says that websites could be blocked at the request of a rights holder for two weeks, during which the rights holder has to make an official complaint in court.
Since the law was enacted on Aug. 1, access to only a handful of alleged pirate websites has been blocked, including rutor.org and turbofilm.tv. Recently, the communications sector's watchdog, Roskomnadzor, canceled the blocking of access to seasonvar.ru and smotruonline.ru as rights holders didn't go through with the court process.
Meanwhile, the law has been heavily criticized by Internet companies and consumers. Critics say that the legislation could lead to the blocking of access to legitimate websites and that it takes into account rights holders' interests, while ignoring those of regular users.
Last month, over 100,000 signatures were collected under a petition against the law.