Russian Lawmakers Pass Anti-Piracy Bill

Websites with pirated movies to be blacklisted

Russian lawmakers have passed an anti-piracy bill that will allow courts to block access to websites that offer pirated movies and TV series.

The measure was passed by the State Duma, the lower legislative chamber, on Friday.

If the bill gets the approval of the upper house and the president, Vladimir Putin, it will come into effect on Aug. 1.

Rights-holders will be able to go direct to court without contacting the website first. The court can then demand the content be removed. If the site fails to comply, its IP address will be blacklisted.

“Effective copyright protection is crucial for developing a modern economy in Russia,” deputy speaker Sergei Zheleznyak, who backed the bill, said.

Russia, whose box office was worth $1.2 billion last year, was one of seven countries that the International Intellectual Property Alliance — a coalition of seven orgs repping the U.S. copyright industries — recommended be placed on the priority watch list of U.S. Trade Representative in February.

Internet piracy costs copyright holders in Russia about 60 billion rubles ($1.83 billion) a year, according to Robert Schlegel, one of the bill’s authors and a leading member of the pro-Kremlin United Russia party.

Russia spent 18 years trying to parlay its entry into the World Trade Organization, with its rampant piracy being a major stumbling block. The country finally joined the org last August.

The Russian pols acted a day after the opening of the Moscow Intl. Film Festival, the country’s main sprocket opera. The event was kicked off by a screening of “World War Z,” attended by Brad Pitt and helmer Marc Forster.

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