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Russia Takes Aim at Media Pirates

stalingrad_posterRussia has set itself the goal of trying to rid itself of pirate sites. OK, maybe they’ll settle for just limiting them. That seems a very ambitious goal when you consider that Russia and the former Soviet republics have become the Wild West of nefarious online exploits.

Alexander Akopov, the head of Russia’s Russia’s film and television producers’ association has said that the existing laws will be toughened up by the end of the year. The Hollywood Reporter quotes Akopov as saying, “The idea is that the concepts of ‘blatant violation’ and ‘repeated violation’ are to be introduced, which would lead to immediately shutting down [pirate] web sites.”

Content rights owners are divided on how much of the responsibility for piracy, but are agreed that search engines should be tasked with playing more of an active role. Akipov said that the search engines were the “main pirates in the world.”

As an example of the success of the 2013 restrictions, regulators point to the success of removing last year’s hit “Stalingrad” from several pirate sites. That’s a promising start, but the real test will be whether Russian authorities will be as proactive in dealing with complaints lodged by non-Russian producers.

Some of the blame for piracy was put squarely on the Russian public. Russian film producer Sergei Selyanov derided many of the arguments used by pirate viewers as “childlike.” Akopov argued that Russians should stop “pretending that we are a poor country.” The comments were made during a forum at the St. Petersburg International Media Forum.

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