Russian government pledges piracy crackdown


Russian government pledges piracy crackdown

The Russian government pledged to take tougher action to protect intellectual property rights as it faced increasing pressure to crack down on software, music and video piracy.

Prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov said that promoting economic growth was the the government's key priority and that "intellectual property is a most important resource for economic growth".

Russia is the second-largest producer of pirated music and films after China. Market research firm IDC and the Business Software Alliance (BSA) have estimated that 87% of all software used in Russia is pirated. In Moscow, the latest version of Windows or a disc of MP3 files containing everything the Beatles ever recorded can be bought for less than $3 (£1.90).

On 1 May, the US Trade Representative's Office issued its annual list of countries with the worst record of protecting copyright materials and placed Russia in the top ranks of offenders.

"Rampant piracy and lack of enforcement are problems in Russia, Taiwan, Poland, Brazil and other trading partners," the USTR said. "Weak protection of intellectual property rights result in substantial annual losses to US industry."

The International Intellectual Property Alliance has estimated that global piracy costs US industries as much as $22bn (£13.8bn) every year.

The USTR credited Russia with taking some steps to fight piracy, but said much more needs to be done.

Russia introduced a new trademark law on 1 January and amended its criminal code in April, increasing fines for copyright violations to a maximum of 180,000 roubles (£3,600) and has increased prison sentences for repeat offenders to a maximum of five years.

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