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Russia is reportedly easing its copyright laws to offset sanctions imposed by Western nations in response to its invasion of Ukraine – in doing so it is effectively legalizing piracy of games, movies, TV shows, and more.
The Russian Ministry of Economic Development proposed relaxing piracy legislation earlier this week to circumvent sanctions.
“The possibility of lifting restrictions on the use of intellectual property contained in certain goods, the supply of which to Russia is limited, is being considered,” said the Ministry. “This will smooth out the impact on the market of breaks in supply chains, as well as the shortage of goods and services that arose due to new sanctions by Western countries.”
According to local media in Russia (as reported by City A.M.), the government has now announced that Russian companies have no obligation to pay patent holders for the use of intellectual property, from any countries that have sanctioned the country. This has effectively legalized piracy across the nation.
State-backed newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta reports that new laws allow Russian firms to use innovations from unfriendly countries without paying to use their intellectual property.
When it comes to Hollywood movies, it looks as though Russian people will be free to pirate them, and Russian politician Dmitry Ionin has even suggested that the country may unblock the torrenting suite RuTracker to help Russians pirate Hollywood films.
“Since many Western studios have refused to release new films in Russia, the parliamentarian believes that thanks to the torrent tracker, users will be able to watch Hollywood films,” reports Gazetta.
Депутат Госдумы Дмитрий Ионин предложил разблокировать RuTracker
Так как многие западные студии отказались от выпуска новых кинолент в России, парламентарий считает, что благодаря торрент-трекеру пользователи смогут увидеть голливудские фильмы. pic.twitter.com/muO1VitjTO
— Газета.Ru (@GazetaRu) March 3, 2022
The move comes just days after Twitch suspended payments to Russian streamers. They have also introduced new rules to stop the spread of misinformation, allowing Twitch to take action against accounts deemed to be spreading false info – such as the video game footage being passed off as real-life war footage.
Additionally, Microsoft, Sony, and many more gaming and entertainment companies have suspended sales of games and hardware across Russia. In doing so the companies have answered a call from Ukraine’s deputy prime minister, who asked “all game developers” to temporarily end support in Russia and Belarus.
We have a guide on how to help Ukrainian civilians, which includes a number of humanitarian charities that use donations to provide aid in the country.
Ryan Leston is an entertainment journalist and film critic for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter.