Russia approves ignoring copyright in the face of sanctions

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Russia has eliminated penalties for copyright infringement. A new legislation that in practice will help Russian users to have access to video games, music and content that has been banned from them, after the various sanctions for the war in Ukraine. This new management of “parallel imports” has been approved by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and its implications go beyond software.


It affects the intellectual property of “enemy countries”. The new measure includes the 27 countries of the European Union, as well as other countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan or South Korea. Russia decides to go against international law and has decriminalized copyright infringement of inventions from these countries. In the event that a Russian user decides to infringe the intellectual property of, say, a Netflix series, a Nintendo video game or Microsoft software, the criminal and administrative liability will be 0%.

Among the affected companies we find, among others, Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Activision Blizzard, Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Take-Two Interactive, Epic Games, CD Projekt, Bungie, Rovio, Supercell or Niantic. Several of these companies had canceled access to their games as a measure of pressure.

What products or content are included. This measure affects both physical and digital goods, from movies, music, software or video games. At industry level, It is described which includes “invention, utility model, industrial design rights in relation to computer programs, databases, and topologies of integrated circuits.” The Russian government’s goal is to focus on consumer products that are no longer available.

How it is described at the legal level. The official name of the legislation is “Priority Action Plan to Ensure the Development of the Russian Economy in Conditions of Pressure from External Sanctions.” At section 6.7.3 of your proposal is described the “cancellation of responsibility for the use of unlicensed software (SW) in the Russian Federation, owned by a copyright holder of countries that have supported sanctions.” In other words, it is not legalizing copyright infringement in a generic way, only in those cases where the owner is from an enemy country.

Currently, the russian legal code allows the government to use inventions without the consent of the copyright owner. However, they paid a small deposit for reasonable use. In general, copyright infringement is punishable by up to six years in prison or 500,000 rubles.

Another aggressive move to defend against sanctions. This Russian plan to adopt such a unilateral position stems from the need to use certain programs once the license expires. Take the case of Oracle or Microsoft software, usually by subscription. Russian companies can no longer renew this license. Under this new law, those companies will be able to continue using the software without the official support of North American companies. An unofficial use that would have to be seen to what extent it is feasible, since many of these services work under the cloud.

Recently, Russia has reopened the RuTracker torrent portalwhich has so far been blocked by Russian ISPs for repeated copyright infringement.

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Russia has eliminated penalties for copyright infringement. A new legislation that in practice will help Russian users to have access…

Russia has eliminated penalties for copyright infringement. A new legislation that in practice will help Russian users to have access…

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