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Bill to Hike Fines for Pirated Goods

Federation Council senators have drafted a bill that would increase fines for producers and distributors of counterfeit goods, Interfax reported Thursday.

Federation Council Vice Speaker Svetlana Orlova, a co-author of the proposed legislation, told the news agency that the fines would be no less than 1,500 rubles ($50) for individuals, 10,000 rubles for officials and 30,000 for businesses.

Higher fines would be imposed depending on the pirated merchandise's price and the "damage" it inflicts, Orlova explained, adding that the annual turnover of such goods in Russia amounts to 900 billion rubles.

"Counterfeit goods have permeated almost all segments of the domestic market, from children's toys to intellectual property," she said. "Twelve percent of the medicines in our nation are fake."

In her opinion, the fines under the current law are too small and do not effectively deter counterfeiters.

Furthermore, Russia is likely to see more pirated goods coming over its borders due to its accession to the World Trade Organization and lower administrative barriers to trade, Orlova added.

The Federation Council is scheduled to discuss the bill on Wednesday.

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