MOSCOW, August 10 (RIA Novosti) – An online petition against Russia’s draconian anti-piracy law has received 100,000 signatures on Saturday – a number required to send it to the government for discussion.
The petition was posted on the Russian Popular Initiatives (ROI) web portal in early July, two days after President Vladimir Putin signed the new law against film piracy that allows copyright holders to request the court to block contested content before ruling on its legality, without requiring them to try to contact the uploader before going to court.
If a website fails to comply, its IP address could be blacklisted in Russia. This measure, already used in existing Russian blacklists, is technically flawed because every IP address is normally used by several unrelated websites, all of which end up on the blacklist if one of them is banned.
The petition says that the anti-piracy law violates the presumption of innocence and allows violations on the part of copyright holders. It urges authorities to suspend the law and include amendments suggested by the Internet community, or scrap the law altogether.
Russian citizens’ proposals posted on the ROI web portal have the status of "popular" initiatives. If an initiative gains at least 100,000 votes from citizens in a year, it must be submitted to the government to study and decide whether to send it to Russia’s parliament.
This is the second petition that won popular support on ROI web portal. The first one was proposed by opposition blogger Alexei Navalny to ban officials from buying cars worth more than 1.5 million rubles ($45,500). It was put to the vote in April and got 100,000 signatures in early July.
The Russian anti-piracy bill has been compared to SOPA ("Stop Online Piracy Act"), a draconian piece of copyright-protecting legislation stalled in the US Congress since 2012 after mass protests from the internet industry and web users.
The bill was introduced in June by four lawmakers, including an actress, a film director, an opera singer and a PR specialist. The original draft of the bill covered all forms of copyrighted content, but the bill’s scope was narrowed to films following a review.
The US government lists Russia among the world's worst copyright infringers because of "inadequate enforcement against the growing problem of online piracy," according to this year's report by the Office of the US Trade Representative.