Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law to block mobile apps that contain pirated content and violate copyrights. The document published by On the legal information portal.
State Duma took the bill on May 27, and it was approved by the Federation Council on June 2. The term "software application" appears in it – it implies "programs for computers, " which give access to the objects of copyright and related rights. However, such objects do not include photographs and other pictures.
The law obliges app aggregators – AppStore, Google Play and others – to block those that give access to pirated content. When it is detected, the owner of the software application will be informed, after which he must within one working day limit access to this information. In case of inaction, the application will be blocked.
"If the owner of the information resource has not restricted access to the software application, the information necessary to take measures to restrict access to the software application shall be sent to telecommunications operators, " the document says.
Previously, market participants asked State Duma to relax the bill by limiting Roskomnadzor’s authority to block them. Among them are Russian Association of Electronic Communications (RAEC), Association of trading companies and manufacturers of electrical household and computer equipment (RATEK) and American Chamber of Commerce in Russia. According to representatives of the organizations, Roskomnadzor will have to block the whole application even if the developer failed to meet the requirements. That is why the participants of the market suggested to prohibit complete cessation of the work of applications if there is a technical possibility to limit access to particular materials – that would help to avoid sudden blocking. Besides, it was suggested to increase the term of consideration of the claims of right holders and notifications of Roskomnadzor to nine working days, and also to provide an opportunity to stimulate the right holders to apply to the developers first, and not to the aggregator of applications and the court.
The bill in this form could severely hit the entire IT industry, says Anton Guskov, a representative of the RATEK. Both Russian players and international companies Apple, Google and Huawei will suffer – Apple, in particular, will have to incur additional costs to moderate in Russia and resolve disputes with developers.
However, despite the arguments of the associations, the State Duma did not make concessions. Thus, the head of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy with the Ministry of Communications and the State Legal Department of the President Alexander Khinstein immediately said that the committee does not support the organizations’ proposals. According to him, the bill is designed specifically to block individual materials, but to prohibit Roskomnadzor to block applications completely: limiting access to individual materials may have technical difficulties, Khinshtein said.