Trying to make life easier for copyright holders, Russia’s Communications Ministry has drafted amendments to the law that would make media outlets take more responsibility for user content.
The amendments introduce so-called “creator’s comments” that will allow anyone who uploads his or her material on any website to define what can be done with the content.
For example, they could allow mass media to freely use the file or, on the contrary, prohibit its usage without notification or reward.
No such practice exists in Russia, which is why many internet mass media prefer to register abroad, where all the necessary laws are in place.
Another part of the amendments concerns online comments. Once the new laws are adopted, those owning internet sites will be responsible for all comments published on their web pages, and will subsequently be punished if these comments involve, for example, appeals to extremism.
The authorities are also considering developing a new system of comment moderation that could help tackle online extremism.
The idea is based on the “red button” concept, which many websites use to allow their users to report extremist commentaries. After a doubtful comment is reported, the website’s administrators decide if they should remove the offensive content.
All online mass media will have to register on the portal, so that the state administrators can monitor how the publications deal with extremist comments. Now the web site owners are obliged to delete a comment only when they receive an official letter from the Ministry of Communications.
The proposed amendments come after a number of scandals involving copyright owners and such Russian internet giants as the Facebook clone Vkontakte.
Repeatedly taken to court over copyright infringement, the online owners managed to prove that they were not responsible for the content posted by their subscribers.