Russian Users Challenge the Lifetime Ban of Local Torrent Tracker

News and Analysis

According to Roskomsvoboda, Russian users have challenged the ruling by the Moscow court as to lifetime banning of the country’s most popular torrent tracker Rutracker.

Representing them in the court will be Roskomsvoboda’s lawyer, Sarkis Darbinian. The appeal was filed in regard of the ruling on the claim filed by Exmo Publishing, which has proved that Rutracker had violated copyright of three of its writers. One of those writers, Dmitri Yemets, has earlier been accused of plagiarism, as his series of novels about Tania Grotter bears striking resemblance with J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series.

The first ruling has not become effective as yet. It should have become so in a month following the ruling, however, the appeal postponed the banning until the time the court decides to dismiss it, or, which is very unlikely, finds it justified.

The users who have challenged the ruling, stated that the banning violated constitutional rights of internet users for free search and distribution of information. Moreover, they state, it may restrict rights of other copyright holders who never stated the site had to be banned.

The claim states: “Banning of a whole resource is a last resort comparable to banning of newspapers or TV broadcasting, and may seem justified only if it comes to the pitch, for example, when one wants to protect children from violence.”

The appeal also states that Rutracker has established an effective system for deleting copyrighted content should the right-holder states their objections. However, according to the claim, Exmo sent no requests as to deleting the content it deems violated.

Earlier Rutracker carried out a survey asking the users whether they prefer continue seeing the content deleted or to learn bypassing the ban. 68% of them responded that the content should stay, and they will be looking for ways of accessing the site regardless of the ban.

Lifetime, or, as they put it in Russia, “eternal” ban of sites is possible in Russia due to the new edition of the counter-piracy law, which became effective as of May 2015. The banned site shall be blocked by Russian internet providers, and no procedure for withdrawing the site from the list is provided in the law.

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