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Russia Closes Top File-Sharing Website Torrents.ru

Mar 30 2010 - 12:36

Russian authorities have without any notice suspended Russia’s most popular file-sharing website torrents.ru for the alleged violation of copyright laws.

Ru-Center, Russia’s main domain name registration center, closed down the website on February 18, 2010, following the order of Moscow prosecutors and stating that the decision was due to the January 26, 2010 illegal online sale of the Autodesk software by a Moscow resident for USD 50 (EUR 36).

Ru-Center spokesman Andrei Vorobyov said that even though the center has closed down websites in the past due to pornography and extremism, this is the first time they were ordered to close one down due to IPR infringement.

On February 20, thousands of outraged users signed an online letter of appeal, sent directly to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, claiming that the officials overstepped the bounds of their authority and harmed the website’s 4 million users.

“This out-of-the-blue decision is proof of the incompetence of our police. What was done was utterly illegal – you have to have a decision from the court before you can just cut off a website,” stated Nikita Kislitsyn, the editor of Russian computer magazine Hacker.

On the contrary, Yury Grymov, a popular film director in Russia, thinks the authorities made a good decision.

“Piracy takes away ninety percent of our profits. It has destroyed cinema in this country and we can’t finance the films we want as a result. It is high time the government did something about pirates,” Grymov said.

Despite the controversy and the possible infringement charges, the owners of torrents.ru have moved their website and files to a new location, rutracker.org.

For more information, please contact Jelena Jankovic in our Balkan Regional Office.

Source: RIA Novosti

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