Putin approves, experts criticise new anti-piracy plan
A 29 May 2013

Putin approves, experts criticise new anti-piracy plan

Vladimir Medinsky, head of Russia's Cultural Ministry, has met with Vladimir Putin to introduce an anti-piracy plan devised by his office. Experts say the initiative lacks clarity, at the very least, while Internet freedom activists think suggested measures are pointless.

Irina Levova, head of Strategic Development, Russian Association for Electronic Communications (RAEC): "Ministry of Culture's draft law does not correspond to the needs of the Russian society, nor those of Russian business."

"I don't see why a website must check whether or not a rights owner's bid is authentic. Information brokers are not notary officers or courts, they cannot make decisions like that.

Any user visiting a website has some rights and obligations provided by both the laws of the Russian Federation and user agreements. The scheme that the Ministry suggests does not include any form of user interaction, which both contradicts common sense (when it comes to UGC resources it is the user that uploads content), and lays an excess responsibility on the shoulders of information brokers.

The Ministry's draft law does not correspond with the needs of Russian society, nor those of Russian business, I'd rather say it was tailored to fit the interests of American media corporations. Mr. Medinsky distorted the situation when he was describing it to Putin. He should have mentioned that his draft law was not supported by a few other ministries, Rostelecom and the Internet industry.

We really hope that soon we'll be able to lobby new laws 'at the top level', but work normally together with the lawmakers and other parties involved; to present a more balanced draft law that would fit the needs of Russian, and not American, economy.

We have long been looking for a solution that would balance the interests of rights owners, users and the Internet business, like the Canadian Bill C-11, or a better version of the US DMCA. What we need is a procedure for rights owners to notify website owners, for counter user notifications, a procedure ensuring the right for content distribution."

Stanislav Shakirov, Vice-Chairperson, Pirate Party of Russia: "Copyright blocking won't work"

"The only scheme for counteracting piracy effectively is creating quality product and improving one's business model.
All attempts to block anything have failed, it has happened in France, in the States, everywhere.
If you look at how inefficient the list of sites that are banned for children is, you can assume that blocking won't work.

All pirate sites have long been based outside Russia, and their administration will not answer any requests of orders, and they will easily avoid being blocked.

As for Putin, he is always for everything that is 'good' and against everything that is 'bad', like any other populist politician. But if he knew that about 90% of Russia's population actually support piracy, he would not be so straightforward. "

Sergey Chekmayev, author, story collector: "The only way is to offer extended content".

Reading is obviously loosing the battle for brains, and readers don't want to pay for books, and they are spoiled by Internet piracy. The only way out of this situation is to offer other kind of content, extended content, one that, due to some technical features, pirates won't be able to copy. Look at music labels: they have long abandoned the notion of music albums as their main source of income, they have found 'salvation' in live concerts. The only things cinemas still survive torrents is the Dolby Surround, 3D glasses, etc.

Too much emphasis on the special effects kills creativity, that's another issue. So music bands don't have to write new songs, they can just do a few hits all over again at gigs to please their fans. Movie industry, having concentrated on hi-fi special effects, has lost to TV series in terms of screenwriting. A similar thing can well happen to literature, too. There is a mass migration of authors to neighbouring areas, where they can still earn some money for their work, and book projects that are so popular with the publishers, are written by hard-working craftsmen using popular moulds.