Russia to reorganize up internet legislation
VK, Russia’s largest social network and, incidentally, a huge library of TV shows, videos and music, is thinking of legalizing its media. Initially – back when the network was developing from a simple messaging service with photo albums, users were being granted more and more options – including uploading their own videos and audio recordings. The scope of this multimedia feature quickly changed, however, with users uploading copyrighted media and essentially treating the social network as a giant cloud-based entertainment library. Until recently, anti-piracy laws were quite lax in Russia. In the 90s, a massive anti-piracy campaign eventually overcame the omnipresent shops with illegal CDs. However, legislation was proven to be outdated when broadband became the standard for internet connectivity and when people realized they can consume digital content more conveniently by simply downloading it.
In any case, as of last August, the first edition of anti-piracy law protects video content: websites hosting copyrighted TV shows and movies are blocked if rights owners submit a request. The Culture Ministry along with the State Duma proposed expansion to include all other kinds of intellectual property as well. The idea was greenlighted in May following a meeting with First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov. The final bill has sparked debates within the government regarding textual works – what exactly should constitute a violation of copyrights with representatives of the internet industry agreeing that a sweeping ban on citation would open door for abuse.
Ministry of Economic Development has even proposed to redefine the scope of the current anti-piracy law, specifically, to make it more narrow. Russia’s Telecom and Culture Ministries have not supported this proposal. If new edition of the anti-piracy law comes into force, even a small quote from a copyrighted text may render the borrower liable. Thus the Economic Ministry proposed limiting text copyrights to complete copies of works, with partial citations being allowed. On the bright side, perhaps my friend feed will clear up from countless ‘inspirational quotes’ which every seems to post these days. Perhaps VK is acting ahead of the curve with his latest announcement – due to an agreement with a major copyright holder, about 70% of all music in its database will become legal soon.
And we have a bit more legislative news. Russian deputy Vadim Dengin has submitted a new bill to the State Duma body, which would force internet companies to store personal data of their users on hardware located in Russia starting September 2016. Moreover, operators of such databases will have to disclose physical location of their storage farms. This new bill targets only data about Russian citizens, however, all websites – Russian or international – which process personal data would be affected: this includes email services, social networks, booking services and so on. Experts believe that one of the bases for this law – security concerns about data leaks – will hardly be mitigated in this scenario. In any case, international internet companies will be likely faced with vast expenses if the bill passes. Similar ideas were voiced in Brazil and Germany following Snowden’s revelations, but, for now, little has actually changed. Let’s see if this bill paves the way to a new, redefined internet.