Russia's leadership in counterfeiting not a fact
Zubkov, RIA Novosti economic commentator)
mere coincidence, parliament hearings in Moscow on legal and technical measures
to counteract sales of pirated, faked and low-quality products in Russia took
place at a time when the International Intellectual Property Alliance addressed
the U.S. Administration on the same subject. It demanded that Russia be declared
the biggest violator of intellectual property rights. The motives of the IIPA,
which comprises seven profile American associations, which together unite over
1,900 companies, are easy to understand. Pirated products manufactured in Russia
spell huge losses for their businesses.
even greater losses are suffered by Russia itself. Vladimir Katrenko, deputy
speaker of the Russian parliament, said at the hearing that the problem of
pirated products had reached national proportions and threatened both the
population's life and health and the country's economic security.
efforts against pirated and faked products are becoming increasingly topical
also because one of the main requirements for Russia's accession to the WTO is
to create a system of reliable protection of intellectual property. American
businessmen from the IIPA are urging the White House not to admit Russia to that
Shokin, president of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, was
right when he said that "piracy is the biggest headache for Russian
business." Nevertheless, tireless efforts against it have not yielded
tangible results. Why?
of the main reasons of the failure is that the price of licensed products is too
high for Russian consumers. The population's weak financial possibilities are in
reverse relation to its longing for knowledge and new culture and art products.
A well-to-do person will never go to the market to buy a pirated book, tape or
CD from a stand, but there are few of them in Russia, Shokhin says. He believes
that among other measures, it is very important to reduce customs duties on
imported items of intellectual property. Also, foreign copyright holders should
move production to Russia, thereby reducing the cost of their products for
Simonov, head of the Federal Service for Intellectual Property, addressing the
State Duma deputies, also said that the high price of licensed products for
Russian consumers was a major problem. While fighting against piracy, the
Russian state is punishing violators on the one hand, and its own population, on
there are other reasons behind the growth of pirated products. Economic
Development Minister German Gref opines that the main reason is that the
services sector amounts to hardly 30% of Russia's GDP, while in developed
Western countries it exceeds 70%. So stealing copyright products is not
considered a serious offense in the Russian system of values. As the share of
provided services will be growing, the volume of piracy will be decreasing, he
in the Russian legislation also encourage piracy, and so do mild punishments
that are inadequate to the scale of the offense, which many people acknowledge.
A high-ranking officer in the Interior Ministry's economic crimes department,
who has been fighting against intellectual property-related crimes for several
years, says that piracy can be stopped only by force. To do so, cases of piracy
should be tried in courts of general jurisdiction rather than arbitration
courts; and amendments should be introduced to the Criminal Code to make
punishment for piracy tougher.
Voronin, head of the All-Russian Quality Organization supports the idea of
toughening punishment. Many of such crimes are punished with death sentence in
the United States and with life imprisonment in Turkey, he says. In his opinion,
it is important that a new generation of Russian businessmen would be afraid to
produce pirated products. Today neither sellers nor buyers are afraid of getting
long prison terms.
Interior Ministry advocates not only the confiscation and destruction of pirated
products, but also the equipment used to make it. This initiative is supported
by the Federal Services for Intellectual Property and for Law Enforcement.
latter's head, Alexander Romanenko, says that the audio and video market in
Russia is not too big. It has about 200 legal firms, half of which are based in
Moscow and are under permanent control. However, the current procedure of
revoking licenses and shutting down production does not allow doing it quickly.
He says that although seven lawsuits have been tried, only one license has been
revoked so far.
year, the Federal Service for Intellectual Property considered 2,040
applications on violations of intellectual property rights and sent 1,000 cases
to courts. It does not mean, however, that the offender will be duly punished.
About 60% of criminal proceedings were stopped as the parties conciliated. Other
perpetrators got away with small fines.
we have seen, agencies and deputies responsible for fighting piracy are not
sitting idle. They are acting as a united front and are looking for new reserves
to fight against unscrupulous businesses. They are improving legislation and
trying to create an implacable attitude towards pirates in society.
a few words about Russia's leadership in counterfeiting: many prominent Russian
politicians and businessmen seriously doubt this statement. Valery Draganov,
head of the State Duma's committee for economic policy, entrepreneurship and
tourism, as well as Alexander Shokhin say that there are countries with a bigger
population and bigger markets. For example, piracy in China, according to the
IIPA, is 85-93%, incurring as much as $2.53 billion of losses on American
producers. In Russia, they lose about $1.75 billion. –0–