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Russian copyright law will apply to news reports

29 July, 2009

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: Russisches Urheberrechtsgesetz wird für Nachrichtenberichte gelten

A new modification in the Russian copyright legislation was drafted by the Government in order to extend the protection to news reports.

The new draft was pushed by the biggest Russian news agencies which were claiming that other regional and online publications are plagiarizing their news reports. The law could be submitted to the Russian Parliament in the fall.

The draft presented by the Communications and Press Deputy Minister Alexander Zharov foresees fines from 10 to 20 000 rubles (approx. 230-460 euros), but also the confiscation of the production as sanctions for plagiarism for an agency. The plagiating reporter of the agency could also be fined with 1 - 5 000 rubles (23 - 115 euros). The present draft is still unclear on how the fines will be applied and under what specific circumstances the confiscation will be enforced, thus causing critics to say that the new law could be used to shut up the unwanted voices.

Andrei Richter, head of Moscow's Media Law and Policy Institute, considered the law a step forward and commented: "Currently, news agencies have to go to court and prove that they have suffered financial losses because of the plagiarism."

But other news editors, such as Moscow Post editor Alexei Kozlov were not too happy. He called the bill "an opportunity to punish a rival media outlet."

As a consequence of the financial crisis, the European newspapers and magazine publishers are also trying to lobby for tougher copyright laws. A public call to the European Commission in this respect was signed at a meeting on 26 June in Berlin, convened by the European Publishers' Council and the World Association of Newspapers. The letter was based on a German initiative called the "Hamburg Declaration' adopted by 149 German publishers earlier that month.

The letter stated that: "Numerous providers are using the work of authors, publishers and broadcasters without paying for it. Over the long term, this threatens the production of high-quality content and the existence of independent journalism. For this reason, we advocate strongly urgent improvements in the protection of intellectual property on the Internet."

The new call is also trying to have the Automated Content Access Protocol (ACAP), pushed by the publishers industry as the perfect solution to avoid copying news, imposed by law

ACAP is a meta data standard that aims at specifing how online aggregators (including search engines) handle a publisher's work by defining usage by third parties rights.

Bill Extends Copyright Protection to News (22.07.2009)

European Publishers Call on E.U. to Protect Copyright (9.07.2009)

European publishers want a law to control online news access (10.07.2009)

International publishers demand new intellectual property rights protection to safeguard the future of journalism (9.07.2009)



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