Print gets the first axe in a new war on piracy

This week the U.S. government announced a joint program with Russia in an effort to thwart piracy as well as protecting intellectual property (PDF). The new joint program calls to address what the U.S. terms IPR, or intellectual property rights, which is a big concern in Russia right now as well as other countries such as China and Taiwan.

The agreement between the U.S. and Russia will attempt to address critical issues, including but not limited to the following:
  • Fighting optical disc piracy
  • Fighting Internet piracy
  • Protecting pharmaceutical test data
  • Deterring piracy and counterfeiting through criminal penalties
  • Strengthening border enforcement against piracy and counterfeiting
  • Bringing Russia’s laws into compliance with the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) and other international IPR standards; and
  • Continuing training and bilateral cooperation on IPR protection.
The official agreement noted that Russia has agreed to aid U.S. authorities in shutting down illegal websites such as those carrying bittorrent files or direct downloads of copyrighted music, movies and software. One of the main websites under target is -- a prime example of a website that connects users to copyrighted music free of royalties. Russia has agreed to take measures such as prosecution and lawful takedown of such websites and any organization that launches and maintains such websites. Currently the site is still online.

Illegal media distribution is also a big problem in Russia and in many parts of Asia. Walking in the streets of Shanghai, one can find many small shops that sell and rent movies that are all burned onto writable discs. Many people also sell movies and software privately on the streets. Most importantly, this seems to be a very common practice. Optical media manufacturers operating in Russia will also be under the microscope. Plants that produce illegal discs will face heavy fines and criminal charges. Individuals and groups involved in piracy activities will also face charges as criminals.

According to the pact "Russia has provided information showing that through September, Russian authorities continue their efforts on IPR enforcement, with raids at comparable levels to last year. We believe that Russia is committed to more aggressive actions before the end of the year."

By June of 2007, Russia will have fully implemented its new legistlation on software and Internet piracy. Music, movies and software will all be covered under law. The co-operation between the U.S. and Russia is so serious in fact, that a special hotline has been dedicated for up-to-date piracy communications between the two countries.

"It seems as though my state-funded math degree has failed me. Let the lashings commence." -- DailyTech Editor-in-Chief Kristopher Kubicki

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