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Culture Ministry Looks to Expand Anti-Piracy Law

Watching a movie on the computer might soon be harder, if the anti-piracy law is expanded. Maxim Stulov

The Culture Ministry has asked the government to review a set of amendments to the anti-piracy law aimed at extending the measure's reach to other types of online content, but not music.

The law in its current form allows courts to block or delete web pages containing pirated video content at the request of copyright holders if the site owners fail to remove it within 72 hours following the notice.

The proposed changes extend to other types of content, except music, letting the copyright owners of software programs or photographs bypass the court, contact hosting providers directly and request the questionable content be removed. The hosting providers will have 24 hours to contact the content owner and block the material or risk a hefty fine of 300,000 to 1 million rubles ($9,000 to $30,000), Vedomosti reported.

Previous versions of the law obligated copyright holders to complain to the Federal Mass Media Inspection Service first and did not include fines for the hosting providers.

The Culture Ministry is in favor of protecting music copyrights as well, Deputy Minister Grigory Ivliev said, but the Internet has such a large number of "phonograms," that including them all in the law would lead to difficult disagreements about types of sound files.

The ministry's decision to exclude pirated songs has raised eyebrows in the music world. The director of the National Federation of the Music Industry, Leonid Agronov, said songs were downloaded more often than other types of content online and that excluding music from the law would inhibit the development of paid music distributors such as Yandex.Music and iTunes.

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