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21 Jun, 2013 14:06

Duma backs 'movies only' anti-piracy bill

Duma backs 'movies only' anti-piracy bill

The Russian Lower House has approved an anti-piracy bill that only protects movies and does not introduce responsibility for users of the pirated content.

The bill was passed in the second and third reading on Friday as 337 of 450 MPs voted for it. Only one MP voted against and there were no abstentions.

In its current form the bill only protects video content - movies and television series which is different from the original draft that also covered music copyright. The sponsors of the bill said the reason was movies were much more expensive to produce and that after it could still be amended at a later date should there be a need.

The bill allows the blocking of whole web-sites that distribute pirated content after the copyright holder writes a complaint to a specially set up official body. Fifteen days later the case would go to the Moscow City Court, which will now decide on all film piracy cases in the country. If the court finds the law has not been broken access to the site must be re-opened. If the complaint is upheld the site remains blocked and will be put on a special blacklist.

No sanctions are introduced against downloaders and end users of the pirated videos.

If it is approved by the Upper House and signed by the President the bill would come into  force on August 1.

Representatives of music and software industry have expressed surprise over the exclusive rights of movie makers and experts noted that the bill could overload the Moscow City Court as well as discriminate against citizens and companies from other Russian regions.

According to parliamentarians, internet piracy costs Russian copyright holders about 60 billion roubles a year (under $2 billion).