An Overview of New 2013 Media Laws in Russian Federation

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Last year was very interesting for the Russian Federation from the legal point of view. The government continued its Internet policy started in 2012, which I am glad to introduce in this text.

Exterritorial jurisdiction

As a general rule the courts in the Russian Federation consider cases involving foreigners, if the defendant organization is situated on the territory of Russia or if the defendant citizen has his place of residence in Russia. However, it became possible for Russian residents to bring legal actions against foreign companies with accordance to Russian Federal Law “On personal data”. Clearly, the fact that a foreign company violates Russian resident’s personal data rights is enough for the courts of Russian Federation to have jurisdiction over a case, at least according to Russian Procedural Code.

Declining years of the free-movie era

Since August the rights holder has a legal possibility to make a formal complaint to Moscow City Court, which issues a ruling blocking a website as injunctive relief to protect the exclusive rights to the movie. On the basis of the ruling the rights holder files an application to Roskomnadzor using official website, which also contains a list of internet resources which have been already blocked for distribution of prohibitive information. Roskomnadzor shall enforce various parties, from the site owner to the communications provider, to block this website.  Moscow City Court decisions may be appealed to the appellate instance of the same court.

What is coming?

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed the bill enabling immediate block of websites containing extremist information. According to the law, Internet resources containing such information shall be blocked upon a request of the General prosecutor, his deputies or the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media. Apparently, the Ministry in the shortest possible time enforces operators to limit access to a relevant Internet resource and demand Internet and hosting providers delete such information in 24 hours.

As one can draw a conclusion Russian Federation is carrying out a policy of regulating national segment of the Internet in order to exclude certain information from the information field and protect Russian citizens’ personal rights in cyberspace. As regards the effectiveness of such measures one should understand that it is obviously a battle of public and private interests. At the present the government stakes on the golden mean. However, it is still early to analyze the profit.

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