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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Book Pirates Hit and Sunk

The Russian Association of Authors and Publishers Against Piracy was formed less than three years ago but, according to those taking part in the association's last meeting, illegal copying has almost completely been stamped out in Russia proper.

"Thanks to glasnost," said Gleb Uspensky, director of the Vagrius publishing house, "Direct piracy has nearly completely disappeared."

He was backed up by Vitaly Babenko, of Text publishers, who said, "Our association has managed to create a healthy legal climate in the country."

Although the association has less than 20 full members, it nonetheless worked in tandem with 60 publishers from 20 cities and was involved in 250 legal proceedings in 1995.

"Russian book pirates are not regular pirates in the traditional Western meaning of the term" said Marat Shishigin, president of the association. "They are either pure criminals or naive publishers. And it is mostly due to the legal and educational activities of our association that for the first time at the Frankfurt Book Fair we did not hear any complaints or reprimands about piracy among Russian publishers from our Western colleagues."

Still, the problem of pirate editions has not disappeared, particularly in Belarus, Ukraine and Georgia where vast quantities of books are still illegally produced for sale in Russia. For the time being, neither the association nor customs have been able to stop these books crossing the border.

The main driving force of the association, its executive director Alexei Pushkov, is now in the hospital with severe cardiological problems.