Russian Anti-Censorship NPO Proposes Users to Join Its Unbanning Efforts
Following the notorious court ruling as to the â€śeternal banâ€ť of several Russian websites, including extremely popular BitTorrent tracker Rutracker.org, RosKomSvoboda, The Center for Protection of Digital Rights, and some activists initiated a campaign titled â€śThe Battle of Runetâ€ť.
The campaign provides for consolidation of efforts of those thinking the so-called â€śanti-piracy lawâ€ť violates their rights. In particular, they were offered to join a class action lawsuit for the â€śenteral bansâ€ť. Those willing to participate may use the dedicated website zarunet.org. Both average users and content copyright holders who distribute their works via torrent trackers, may join.
Two weeks after the campaign’s launch, the website aggregated around 5 thousand applications.
In order to prevent RuTracker’s ban, lawyers of RosKomSvoboda filed an appeal the day before it should have become effective. The appeal states that the ban violates the right for free access to information.
According to the legal determination of the community, continuous restriction of access to RuTracker.org may result in the following consequences, which violate lawful rights and interests of the public:
- restriction of Russian citizens’ access to legal and lawful information contained therein.
- restriction of access to the copyrighted content, right-holders of which did not request to protect their rights via banning the whole website.
- restriction of access to the works distributed under provisions of The Russian Civil Code’s articles 1273 and 1274 (covering the free usage of works).
- restriction of access as provided in clause 1282 of the same Code (works in public domain).
- restriction of access to the works distributed under open licenses as per clause 1286.1 of the same Code (open license for using scientific, literature, and art works), as exemplified by Creative Commons and GNU FDL used by many Russian organizations and authors.
Moreover, the appeal highlights that the so-called â€śeternal banâ€ť contradicts clause 29 of the Russian Constitution and UN Joint Declarations on media freedom and freedom of expression as compiled in Vienna on 06.01.2013, and represents a substantial violation of fundamental human rights.
Notwithstanding all those arguments, the City Court of Moscow rejected the appeal, and determined its striking-out. The ruling was justified by the fact that the appellant is not a party to the case, and â€śthe issue of rights and obligations of the appellant is not solved hereinâ€ť.
Thus, the judge who issued the ruling in the absence of any involved parties deliberately neglects the right for free access to information, and demonstratively highlights that there is no violation of any rights in eternal banning of a website. Judge Kazakov, apart from issuing an unjust statement, also materially breached legal procedures, as clause 324 of the Civil Procedures Code states that the appeal shall be struck out only if the judge’s ruling is not implemented within the determined terms, or the term for appealing is exhausted.
Furthermore, the City Court of Moscow ruled to ban other popular torrent trackers like rutor.org, torrentor.net, kinozal.tv, and seedoff.net. An appeal concerning the ban was filed on behalf of one of the banned sites’ owner, a Ukrainian legal person. However, the court rejected again.
Currently, two special appeals for unjust court rulings are filed; also, several additional appeals are being prepared.
Earlier, RosKomSvoboda and bitcoin company Bitect launched an online resource at openrunet.org set to help users access the banned websites. Its visitors may obtain easy advice as to unblocking any banned site in â€śthree simple stepsâ€ť.
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