March 12, 2010

In a recent article in The Moscow Times (available HERE), Russian authorities are seeking to punish internet providers in connection with illegal downloading of content by their customers. As noted within the Article, "[a]nti-piracy changes to the Civil Code, prepared by Sistema Mass-Media, will be considered on Friday by a board including representatives from the Culture, Press and Communications, Interior and Economic Development ministries," noting that "internet providers cannot currently be held accountable for pirate traffic, but with the proposed changes they could be targeted under the Administrative, Civil and Criminal codes." Violations of Article 146 of the Criminal Code, in connection with intellectual property rights, can include punishments up to six years in prison. Illegally downloading movies appears to be commonplace in Russia, noting that one prediction in the article states that "on average, Russian movies are downloaded from the Internet 1 million times during their first week in theaters." As noted in the article, use of Article 146 could target the senior management of Internet providers, "[b]ut the rights owner would need to inform the provider of the client's violation, and punishment would only be meted out to those who do not cut off the offending clients."

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Mark Reichel
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I am a patent attorney with Reichel IP LLC, where I concentrate my practice on patent drafting and prosecution, trademarks, and general intellectual property matters. I currently focus on the preparation and prosecution of medical device and other life sciences patent applications, and being actively involved in a number of local not-for-profit organizations.

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