Google and Russia's biggest search engine Yandex are voicing their opposition to a new bill that would block sites accused of hosting (in some way) copyrighted material. The new bill, which has already passed Russia's State Duma, is being called Russia's version of the Stop Online Piracy Act. The bill gives intellectual property holders the ability to sue a web site that they claim is hosting copyrighted materials. The accused site then has 72 hours to remove the offending material (without the option of reviewing the claim). Failure to comply will result in the entire site being blocked by Internet service providers pending the outcome of a court hearing.
Google is calling the law "the greatest harm to the Internet," while Yandex says that the law puts an undue burden on Internet companies and offers a punishment that is too broad because it blocks an entire domain over one claim of infringement. Like other bills that have tried to combat piracy, this bill offer problematic language related to takedowns. All a rights holder needs in order to file a complaint is the name of the artist/creator and the content’s name to file a complaint. It does not need to point out a specific location of where the offending material is found, thus putting the onus on Internet companies to find and remove it.
Two more readings of the bill are required for it to move on to becoming a law. Tech companies are hoping that amendments will at least make the law a little less severe on Internet companies by offering some more perfected language on infringements and take-downs.
We will have more on this story as it develops.