from the what's-yours-is-now-mine dept.
With sanctions against Russia starting to bite, the Kremlin is mulling ways to keep businesses and the government running. The latest is a creative twist on state asset seizures, only instead of the government taking over an oil refinery, for example, Russia is considering legalizing software piracy.
Russian law already allows for the government to authorize—"without consent of the patent holder"—the use of any intellectual property "in case of emergency related to ensuring the defense and security of the state." The government hasn't taken that step yet, but it may soon, according to a report from Russian business newspaper Kommersant, spotted and translated by Kyle Mitchell, an attorney who specializes in technology law. It's yet another sign of a Cyber Curtain that's increasingly separating Russia from the West.
The plan would create "a compulsory licensing mechanism for software, databases, and technology for integrated microcircuits," the Kommersant said. It would only apply to companies from countries that have imposed sanctions. While the article doesn't name names, many large Western firms—some of which would be likely targets—have drastically scaled back business in Russia. So far, Microsoft has suspended sales of new products and services in Russia, Apple has stopped selling devices, and Samsung has stopped selling both devices and chips.
Presumably, any move by the Kremlin to "seize" IP would exempt Chinese companies, which are reportedly considering how to press their advantage. Smartphone-makers Xiaomi and Honor stand to gain, as do Chinese automakers. Still, any gains aren't guaranteed since doing business in Russia has become riddled with problems, spanning everything from logistics to finance.
Also at TorrentFreak.
The UK government added 63 Russian entities to its sanction list on Wednesday [04 May]. Among them are Baikal Electronics and MCST (Moscow Center of SPARC Technologies), the two most important chip makers in Russia.
The two sanctioned entities will now be denied access to the ARM architecture since Arm Ltd., the licensee, is based in Cambridge, England, and will have to comply with the sanctions.
[...] The two firms are considered vital for Russia's technological independence efforts, as they are expected to step up and cover the shortages created by the lack of processors made by Western chip-makers such as Intel and AMD.
[...] While these processors [the most advanced processors Baikai and MCST currently supply], and the much worse mid-tier and low-tier chips that carry the Baikal and MCST sticker, don't feature impressive performance, they could keep some vital parts of the Russian IT section going during shortages.
With its invasion of Ukraine, Russia ignited a regional conflict with global repercussions. Thousands of lives have been lost and many more ruined. In response, many U.S. entertainment industry companies took a stand by ceasing their Russian operations. Through the IIPA, many of the same companies now want to urge Russia to keep online piracy in check.
[...] As we have documented previously, more than a hundred Russian movie theaters have started to show pirated movies in Russia in response to the sanctions. While clearly illegal, the chairman of the Russian Association of Cinema has sympathy for the plight of these struggling theater owners.
The Russian Government has also made matters worse for US copyright holders. A few months ago, it proposed a 'forced licensing' bill that would effectively legalize piracy of media produced by "unfriendly" states, including the US.
These developments are causing concern among organizations such as the IIPA, which counts the MPA, RIAA, and ESA among its members. The group recently shared its thoughts with the US Trade Representative for its annual review of Russia's World Trade Organization (WTO) obligations.
[...] "The harm caused by commercial-scale piracy in Russia cannot be adequately addressed with civil measures alone; rather, enhanced administrative actions and penalties and criminal remedies are needed," IIPA writes.
When push comes to shove, copyright infringement just doesn't matter.
IIPA = International Intellectual Property Alliance. Letter to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (PDF).