The Russian Ministry of Culture is working with entertainment industry groups such as the National Federation of Music Industry (NFMI) and the Association of Producers of Cinema and Television (APKIT) to draft legislation against social media platforms which act as a host for user-uploaded pirated content.
The new law would target social media platforms by removing their protection that they are currently granted under Article 1253.1 of the Civil Code which states that social media sites are mere “information brokers”, freeing them from liability for hosting infringing content that has been uploaded by users. By removing this protection, rights holders believe social media sites would tighten up on the allowed content.
Rights holders argue that most copyright infringement is done through social networks which allow users to upload any content. They believe that social networks, such as vKontakte (VK) allow copyrighted material on their sites because users consequently spend more time on the website; vKontakte, for instance, allows users to listen to any song that has been uploaded by users of the site.
Aside from amending the Civil Code, laws are being considered which would target sites that have already been blocked by ISPs via orders from the Moscow City Court. The proposals suggest that those sites (piracy sites, not social media sites like VK), should be banned from hosting adverts, keeping funding away, forcing hosts to shut down of find other means to pay the bills. Sites that operate on a subscription basis should be stopped from receiving payments from their users, according to rightsholders.
Previously, Russian sites such as VK, were seen as being lax on piracy issues. It appears from the latest development, however, that the anti-piracy lobby has a lot of sway in Russia too, and sites will have to change their ways.