Russia hails anti-piracy successes

Three days of events to highlight progress

MOSCOW — The bulldozers will be out in Russia next week as anti-piracy campaigners do their bit to raise awareness of copyright theft ahead of World Intellectual Property Day on Saturday April 26.

Three days of events in and around Moscow ahead of the eighth annual spotlight on intellectual property issues will champion progress made in the fight against piracy and promote greater public awareness of the dangers posed by contraband goods.

The Russian Anti-Piracy Organization — set up with Motion Picture Association of America backing more than 10 years ago — will graphically illustrate the results of its long-waged war with piracy when tens of thousands of bootleg videos and DVDs are crushed by bulldozers as part of the publicity campaign.

A “contraband refusniks day” on the eve of World Intellectual Property Day will urge Russian consumers not to buy pirate goods or use illicit Internet download sites.

Television, radio and press adverts will be used to help focus public attention on piracy alongside a series of targeted professional events, including Russia’s second intellectual property forum, a UNESCO-backed roundtable discussion on copyright issues, and public sector and private company exhibitions.

Konstantin Zemchenkov, RAPO head, said his organization would maintain the focus on intellectual property rights later in the month with congressional-style anti-piracy hearings organized in association with film director Karen Shakhnazarov, head of Moscow’s Mosfilm studios and chair of the culture committee of Kremlin advisory body, the Public Chamber.

“The hearings will be designed to assess the current status of piracy in Russia — with government and law enforcement officials and industry figures giving evidence. We then plan to follow up the findings later by checking on progress made following the hearings,” Zemchenkov told Variety.

Sales of pirated film industry products had been steadily falling in Russia as legal enforcement, laws and regulations had been tightened in recent years, he added.

Major progress had been made in Moscow and other large cities where piracy sales had fallen from above 80% to around 50%, although figures remained high in Russia’s poorer provincial regions, Zemchenkov said.

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