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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Piracy Peddlers Feel the Pinch

MTExperts say the new rules will likely just force pirated goods under the counter.
Music and movie bootleggers would do well to sleep with one eye open, industry experts said Wednesday, after a government resolution came into effect banning the sale of compact discs, DVDs and videos from street stalls.

According to amendments to regulations on the sale of goods that were signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov on Tuesday, every CD, DVD and cassette must now display the name and location of its manufacturer and that manufacturer's license number.

"I think the Press Ministry has done a great job to push this legislation through," said Chris Abel-Smith, a film industry veteran and a founding member of the Russian Video Association and Russian Anti-Piracy Organization.

"The key here is enforcement and the big question mark is if the police are going to enforce this legislation satisfactorily or not -- or if it is just going to [produce] more corruption," he added.

Moscow police spokeswoman Lidia Lagutkina said it was too early to tell if any noticeable changes will result from the decree because "we haven't yet received this document."

Russia's burgeoning pirate industry is second only to China's.

The counterfeit music market alone swelled year on year by 25 percent to $311 million, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

And Reuters reported last week that Hollywood's top lobbyist, Jack Valenti, is due in Moscow in September for high-level talks on movie piracy.

Konstantin Zemchenkov, director of the Russian Anti-Piracy Organization, said that while the resolution will most likely just push counterfeit goods under the counter, the new amendments were welcome news.

"It will improve the situation," he said. He said he expected that police activity would intensify in the run-up to a meeting with enforcement bodies at the Press Ministry later this month.

Kasyanov signed the resolution a day before Interpol Secretary-General Ronald Noble was due to address members of the U.S. Congress in Washington on the links between piracy and terrorism.

The Associated Press reported that Noble was expected to present evidence that a range of terrorist groups had profited from the production or sale of counterfeit goods, including paramilitaries in Northern Ireland and Chechen rebels.