New Law to Curb Copyright Infringement

Torrent users could be made responsible for what they download as the Culture Ministry pushes forward in its efforts to protect copyright holders.

The ministry presented its revised changes to the anti-piracy laws at a State Duma working group meeting on Tuesday. The new version proposes extending responsibility for the publication of illegal content from site owners and providers to torrent users, Kommersant reported.

Under this system, telecom operators will need to hunt for Internet pirates while site owners will have to check the legality of content on their sites using a special state register.

The first version of the amendment, which escalated the fight against property right infringements, was published at the end of January. The final version will be presented on June 3, after which it will be forwarded to the Justice Minister for further approvals, said Natalia Romashova, director of the Culture Ministry's legal department.

The most recent version of the anti-piracy measures proposes to install a system that will allow rights holders to send complaints to the telecom operators with the IP-address of the torrent user who is infringing on their rights. Operators will have to forward the complaint to the user within 24 hours, asking him to delete the content or block access to it.

Individual citizens can be fined as much as 5,000 rubles ($158) for failing to comply, officials and entrepreneurs will get fines of 50,000 rubles while the punishment for legal entities can go up to a million rubles.

Telecom operators will also be tasked with deleting or blocking access to the illegal content within 12 hours if the torrent user does not remove the content within the initial time frame.

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