Review of amendments in the procedure for restricting access to content published on the Internet and in software applications
14 July 2020
Procedure for restricting access to content published on the Internet and in software applications
On 8 June 2020 Federal Law No. 177-FZ "On Amendments to the Federal Law "On Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection" (hereinafter the “Information Law”) was adopted to come into force on 1 October 2020.
In mobile and other device applications, in particular, in social networks, messengers, gaming applications, various content is published which can partially violate third party rights. Accordingly, the reason for introducing amendments to the Information Law has been the necessity to clearly indicate in the legislation the obligation to lock such materials or such applications. Presently, the legislation is unclear as to the legal basis and procedure for the locking of applications, while application aggregators, such as AppStore, Google Play and others - are not required to check their hosted applications to determine whether they can provide access to counterfeit content.
The amendments strengthen the protection of intellectual rights on the Internet, in particular, with regard to content posted on Internet sites and in mobile and other device applications which in the new version of the Information Law are referred to as "software applications".
The main amendments introduced to the Information Law are briefly reviewed below.
1. Software applications
The concept of "information resource" used in restricting access to illegal content has been further clarified in the Information Law- software applications are also qualified as information resource by lawmakers. A software application is a computer program through which information and telecommunication networks provide access to objects of copyright or related rights (except for photographic works and works obtained by methods similar to photography) or to the information necessary to obtain them.
Rightholders will be entitled to apply to the federal executive authority exercising control and supervision in the sphere of mass media, mass communications, information technologies and communications (hereinafter “Roskomnadzor”) with a request to restrict access to computer programs that distribute objects of copyright and (or) related rights.
2. Procedure for restricting access to information distributed in the software application
Since 1 October 2020, access to information distributed through software applications will be restricted in accordance with the procedure stipulated in Article 15.2 of the Information Law.
To restrict access to a software application that violates copyright and/or related rights, the rightholder, on the basis of a court act that has entered into force, applies to Roskomnadzor to take measures to restrict access.
Within three working days, Roskomnadzor sends an electronic notification in Russian and English to the owner of the information resource or another person, who provides publication of the corresponding software application on the Internet, about the violation of exclusive rights to objects of copyright and (or) related rights, indicating information about illegally published content and software application and demanding to take measures to restrict access to such objects of copyright and (or) related rights.
Within one working day following the receipt of the notification from Roskomnadzor, the owner of the information resource on which the software application is published, or another person providing the publication of such an application on the Internet, shall notify and inform the owner of the software application of the necessity to immediately restrict access to the objects of copyright and/or related rights (except for photographic works and works obtained by means similar to photography) or to the information required to obtain them using information and telecommunication networks and distributed without rightholder’s permission or another lawful basis.
The owner of the software application is obliged to restrict access to the respective content within one working day.
In case of failure to take measures to restrict access, the resource is locked with the help of a telecommunications operator to which the information necessary for taking measures to restrict access to the software application is sent via the interaction system.
3. Unlocking a software application
If a judicial act is adopted to cancel the restriction of access to a previously locked software application, Roskomnadzor within three working days from the date of receipt of such a judicial act shall notify telecommunications operators and the owner of the information resource on which the respective software application is published of the repeal of measures to restrict access to the software application.
Within one working day from the date of receipt of the notification from Roskomnadzor, the owner of the information resource shall accordingly notify and inform the owner of the software application of the possibility of removing the restrictions.
4. Restriction on access to information that is distributed in violation of the law
Article 15.3 of the Information Law specifies the procedure for restricting access to a wide range of information disseminated in violation of the law, including calls for mass disorder, extremism and participation in illegal public events.
Previously a hosting provider has been obliged within 24 hours from receiving a notification from Roskomnadzor to inform the owner of the information resource of the necessity to immediately delete such information. After the entry into force of the amendments to the Information Law, the hosting provider shall be obliged to contact the owner of the information resource immediately.
Thus, according to part 4.1 of Article 15.3 of the Information Law, the owner of the resource is obliged to delete information within 24 hours from the date of receipt from the hosting provider of the notification requiring its destruction. In case of refusal or omission of the information resource owner, the hosting provider shall restrict access to the respective information resource immediately upon expiration of 24 hours from the moment of notification receipt.
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Specialists of BDO Unicon AO are always happy to provide you with the necessary assistance in explaining new legal provisions, as well as support in their practical application.