A new law, dubbed ‘Russia’s SOPA’, was due to come into effect yesterday. Fast-tracked by government lawyers, the legislation only received its final reading in the State Duma a couple of weeks ago (June 14), and forces ISPs to block websites upon allegations of copyright infringement.
The legislation was pushed through in the face of intense resistance from Google and Russia’s largest search engine, Yandex, a spokesman for which said in statement;
‘This approach is technically illiterate and endangers the very existence of search engines, and any other Internet resources. This version of the bill is directed against the logic of the functioning of the Internet and will hit everyone – not just internet users and website owners, but also the rightsholders… It’s like forever closing the highway, on which there was only one accident.’
The new laws allow copyright holders to file lawsuits against websites they determine are hosting links to pirated material. If the links are not removed with 72 hours, then the entire site must be blocked by ISPs until after a court hearing.
Last minute negotiations with organisations opposed to the law have resulted in only movies and TV shows being covered by it, but it is likely this will be expanded to include a wider range of content in the near future.