Pirates are being driven from the deck // Valery Lebedev on the growing aggression of content producers

When we say “the premiere of a Russian TV series,” we most often mean not the premiere on television, but the release of the original project on the Internet. This is the trend: leading writers and directors produce content for the Internet platforms, which, supported by investor money, are filming more and more. And, as it became clear at yesterday’s industry discussion on the CSTB forum, in proportion to the growth of this market, the irritation of its participants about piracy is growing: manufacturers are increasingly speaking out about why the content, on the production of which they spent in the hope of money of future subscribers, is widespread available absolutely free and illegally.

The general director of the video service Kion (owned by MTS) Igor Mishin was categorical. He said that the state is now doing nothing to combat piracy, and the existing mechanisms for removing pirated content are barely working – 60,000 links to illegally placed projects of this service, launched just two months ago, are available in search engines, and efforts to block them are in vain. From the point of view of a media manager, only criminal penalties will help: pirates should be imprisoned with active coverage of the landings two or three times a year. The President of the Media-Communication Union (MKS) Mikhail Demin supported his colleague that the government’s hand in this industry is still ineffective, and as a result, video piracy is a large and highly organized business. Thus, half of the 40 million pirated links removed from Yandex under the anti-piracy memorandum belonged to the ten largest pirates, Mr. Demin said. This memorandum was signed in 2018 by Yandex and other media companies for extrajudicial removal of links from search results, but this is not enough for copyright holders and they talk about the need for instant blocking.

Judging by the intensity of passions and, most importantly, the growth of budgets for the production of original content, in the near future we may see the mobilization of lobbying resources in an attempt to impose new sanctions against pirates. The emotions of the representatives of video services are understandable: now they often look like water sellers who are standing a meter away from a free spring. And putting a competitor in jail has been a traditional Russian way of doing business since the days of the Novgorod Republic.

But copyright holders and managers of legal resources do not take into account the younger, but no less strong national tradition: Russian people, in principle, are not used to paying for what they see on the Internet. Therefore, if a citizen is allowed to watch the series for free by pirates, he will watch it. In the meantime, the pirates are supported by consumers, no prosecutor’s office will help the producers.

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