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Russian SOPA Passed First Reading

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, June 18 2013

Wikipedia protested SOPA (Wikipedia)

A first draft of a law nicknamed “Russian SOPA” was approved by the Russian parliament last Friday, June 14. Like the original Stop Online Piracy Act, the bill will establish penalties and procedures for online copyright violations.

The bill, actually called 'Amendments to the Russian Federation's Laws Protecting Intellectual Property Rights on Information,' passed with a vote of 257 to 3, with one abstention.

Internet companies and netizens strongly oppose the law. “Yandex, Russia's biggest online search engine, has slammed the bill on its corporate blog, saying the legislation is riddled with technical flaws that could allow the government to ban practically any website indefinitely,” reports The Moscow Times. More particularly, it mocked the law for requiring “technically impossible” feats of the ISP.

Russian artists are embracing the law, however: “As a person who has about a dozen books stolen from him every day, I can only welcome it,” Taras Burmistrov, a mystery writer said.

Under the law, copyright holders could ask the authorities to block websites allegedly providing illegally obtained, copyrighted material, without even filing a formal claim in the court system. ISPs could theoretically be held accountable for material out of their control, and IP addresses could easily be blocked for up to 15 days with little or no legal recourse for the affected websites.

Both Google Russia and Russian search engine Yandex have shared recommended changes to the law, which is already a gentler version of an earlier draft.

The Russian government already censors online content deemed harmful to children, most recently declaring homosexuality a banned topic.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network and the UN Foundation for their generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.