The Russian government has given pirates an apocalyptic warning. Come May 1, 2015, the amendments to their local copyright law will not only strengthen copyright protection, but also include provisions that can permanently block infringing sites. As State Duman Deputy Speaker Sergei Zheleznyak declared:
“I would like to warn those who are still abusing piracy: you have until May 1 to try to and enter into constructive dialogue with rights holders. They are open to cooperation. Our common goal is to ensure that all work is adequately rewarded and that the benefit from successful books, music and wonderful computer programs is enjoyed by those who created them, and not those who stole them. If [site owners] are not interested in legal business, the response of the state will become quite obvious.”
In the past, Russia had a reputation for being lenient with online piracy. However, on August 1, 2013, the country proposed a new intellectual property law. This law provided a system in which sites that produce unauthorized content would be blocked if they chose not to adhere with the takedown requests from right holders within 72 hours.
In 2014, Telecoms Guardian Roscomnadzor reported that during the first year of the law, 12 files sharing sites were blocked due to being unresponsive to takedown notices. Several of them were BitTorrent trackers.
Following more pressure and complaints from rights holders, Russia continued to make further amendments to their site blocking legislation. Initially, only sites with unauthorized video content were covered by the law. But, starting May 1, it would protect all kinds of multimedia content, except photographs.
To illustrate the legislation more clearly, Zheleznyak explained: “The anti-piracy legislation that created the ability to block access to sites that distribute copyright-infringing films and TV shows entered into force on August 1, 2013. On May 1, amendments to the Act will come into force that applies to music, books and software. This development means that the systematic violation of intellectual property rights will result in sites providing access to stolen content being blocked forever.”
It is yet unclear how the new anti-piracy legislation process will be applied. But it is expected that ISPs and webhosts would be given Court orders to forever block websites that continue to host, offer, or give access to unauthorized copyrighted content.