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Russia's Sane Thoughts on Copyright and Internet


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There's been a lot of talk on copyright and Internet regulation at the G8 summit in France.

This led to a statement titled "Renewed Commitment for Freedom and Democracy," where several suggestions on the topic are written down.

While the leaders of most countries backed the interests of a handful of entertainment industry companies, Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev had a different view.

"The declaration reflects an absolutely conservative position that intellectual property rights should be protected according to the existing conventions," said Medvedev.

"No one questions that, but I have repeatedly stated that, unfortunately, those conventions were written 50 or almost 100 years ago, and they are unable to regulate the whole complex of relations between the copyright owner and users."

"Unfortunately, this was not included in the declaration because, in my opinion, my colleagues have a more conservative opinion than is necessary at the moment. Or maybe they just don't use the Internet and have little understanding of it."

Full article:

Today saw the close of the annual two-day G8 summit, in which the coastal French town of Deauville hosted the leaders of the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, and Russia -- the Group of Eight. Over the past two days, the discussed topics ranged from the 'Arab Spring' to the aftermath of the Japanese earthquakes.

However, for those whose attention was focused on the topic of Internet regulation, the most significant language by the assembled leaders was with the concluding statement released at the very end of the summit. The "Renewed Commitment for Freedom and Democracy" made few specific recommendations regarding Internet governance, but included some general declarations that may have raised eyebrows on both sides of the Internet debate.

Part 5 of the Preamble affirms that "Governments, the private sector, users, and other stakeholders all have a role to play in creating an environment in which the Internet can flourish in a balanced manner...we agreed, in the presence of some leaders of the Internet economy, on a number of key principles, including freedom, respect for privacy and intellectual property, multi-stakeholder governance, cyber-security, and protection from crime, that underpin a strong and flourishing Internet."

The main body of the document reaffirms, enumerates, and expands upon these sentiments in Part II. Internet freedom advocates could be especially heartened by section 9, which stated that "the openness, transparency and freedom of the Internet have been key to its development and success. These principles, together with those of non-discrimination and fair competition, must continue to be an essential force behind its development.."

On the other hand, representatives of groups such as the RIAA and MPAA, as well as noted pro-regulation leaders such as French President Sarkozy, likely found section 15 far more inspiring:

"With regard to the protection of intellectual property, in particular copyright, trademarks, trade secrets and patents, we recognize the need to have national laws and frameworks for improved enforcement. We are thus renewing our commitment to ensuring effective action against violations of intellectual property rights in the digital arena, including action that addresses present and future infringements."

Clearly at odds with such sentiments, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev expressed his dissenting opinion shortly after. "The declaration reflects an absolutely conservative position that intellectual property rights should be protected according to the existing conventions," said Medvedev. "No one questions that, but I have repeatedly stated that, unfortunately, those conventions were written 50 or almost 100 years ago, and they are unable to regulate the whole complex of relations between the copyright owner and users."

Characteristically unafraid to ruffle his fellow leaders' feathers, Medvedev continued "Unfortunately, this was not included in the declaration because, in my opinion, my colleagues have a more conservative opinion than is necessary at the moment. Or maybe they just don't use the Internet and have little understanding of it."

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