Pirates vs. Patriots: who will win the battle for content
Russian online cinemas against the legalization of piracy.
The Media Communications Union (ISS), which unites such companies as Channel One, Rostelecom, MTS, Tricolor, VGTRK and Gazprom Media, sent a letter to the head of the State Duma Committee on Economic Policy Maxim Topilin. In him says that the bill of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation on the use of works by foreign copyright holders without their permission violates the interests of specialized market participants and may lead to “the termination of their activities.”
The authors of the letter note that the project also creates a risk of legalization and promotion of pirated resources, which will negatively affect domestic producers and content owners.
The bill was submitted to the State Duma in April and provides for amendments to the Federal Law of March 4, 2022. According to the proposed changes, translation, public display, reproduction and distribution of foreign works with exclusive rights to them can be carried out without permission, but with the payment of remuneration. All reports on the use of such works must be submitted to an authorized organization for the collection and distribution of funds.
The project also invites the government to compile a list of copyright holders whose actions (inaction) led to the unavailability of their content in the Russian Federation.
In the spring of 2022, many foreign streaming platforms, including Netflix, ceased operations in Russia, which led to an increase in the number of users of pirated video services.
Market participants believe that this bill and a number of other initiatives will neutralize the state’s efforts to combat piracy. Recently, the State Duma adopted amendments to the Civil Code, which allow considering multiple violations of the rights of several right holders as one and collecting general compensation. According to market participants, such a measure could lead to further development of pirated resources.
The Media Communication Union proposes several amendments to the bill. They insist on the rejection of an intermediate organization for fundraising and suggest that the Russian licensee has the right to decide on the availability of a work if a license agreement has already been concluded with a foreign copyright holder.
In addition, representatives of the union propose to give access to content not to everyone, but taking into account “mandatory” license agreements in force on February 24, 2022.
Note that the bill of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation is also not supported by the Committee of the Federation Council on constitutional legislation and state building. The Committee considers that the text of the bill is unclear regarding the form and procedure for submitting reports to the organization for the collection and distribution of remuneration. Market participants hope that the initiative will be rejected, taking into account the position of the committee.