Kazakhstan Combats Internet Piracy

Jul 25 2011 - 13:28

The Kazakhstan government and the state Internet association have recently initiated a debate regarding the copyright protection online. On April 29, 2011, a special roundtable was organized for lawyers and industry representatives, during which the authorities presented the “three strikes method” they plan to use to combat online piracy.

“Kaznet (.kz domain) is stuffed with plagiarism, pirated texts, music, photos and videos, with ubiquitous violations of copyrights. We shall punish the violators with a ‘three strikes method’, where strike 1 is a notification, strike 2 is a warning and strike 3 is subject to a criminal case. We believe this is the most acceptable method for our market,” stated Shavqat Sabirov, president of the Internet Association of Kazakhstan.

Many Internet users and bloggers oppose this approach, arguing that Kaznet only exists in cyberspace thanks to the pirated content and that by shutting down all websites with such content Kazakhstan will not solve the problem, but encourage owners to switch to .org or .com domains.

The state authorities excluded the top website representatives from their debate claiming that the roundtable organizer forbade their presence. To strike back, on May 30, 2011, the Internet community wrote a letter addressing the prime minister, the government and the Kazakhstan Internet Association, claiming that the state’s method of suppressing Internet piracy will force users to abandon the .kz domain and that as a result it will become less competitive. Moreover, the Internet community representatives demanded a two-year freeze on the copyright legislation changes.

While many Internet users support the Internet community’s proposal, others think that it is ridiculous to expect that the government will keep tolerating copyright law violations for another two years just to keep Kaznet alive. Instead, some users believe that the Internet community should push for a legislation change that would provide a legal framework for online activities.

The debate is still ongoing.

For more information, please contact Masa Lopicic at our Balkan Regional Office.

Source: Global Voices Online, international community of bloggers

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