Russia Will Deploy “Digital Fingerprinting” to Enforce Copyright Online

Images mixed by Tetyana Lokot.

Images mixed by Tetyana Lokot.

A register containing information about intellectual property rights holders in Russia will be created by the Ministry of Communications and Media, Deputy Minister Alexei Volin said Friday. RAPSI reports that such a register would likely be based on the principle of digital fingerprinting and would be used to “track and protect copyrighted files online.”

Deputy Minister Volin said that many rights holders are afraid to provide a digital fingerprint of their intellectual property for fear that it could be pirated.

“Digital fingerprinting is a system that can be used to track a desired property while excluding the possibility of illegal distribution,” the deputy minister said.

Volin added that initially the ministry believed that there should be no monopoly in this industry, that the contribution of intellectual property to the register must be voluntary and that it should serve the interests of the entire sector.

Digital fingerprinting is a technique that uses software to identify and extract unique components of digital video or audio files. The unique “fingerprints” can then be used to track content online. Film studios use digital video fingerprinting to locate copies of their films on various websites and enforce their copyright, while YouTube's Content ID and Vimeo's Copyright Match use Audible Magic's audio fingerprinting tool to identify the audio used in uploaded videos and check for copyright violations.

The Russian Union of Copyright Holders had recently proposed introducing “an internet tax”—a blanket solution suggesting all users are automatically charged for accessing copyrighted content on the web, regardless of whether or not they're consuming it. The idea seems to have stalled after it was heavily criticized by industry representatives and government officials.

The Russian anti-piracy law took effect on August 1, 2013, and was met with opposition in the RuNet. Among other things, it holds Internet service providers and hosting platforms liable for the distribution of pirated content over their platforms and puts it upon their shoulders to issue warnings and take down pages and websites containing pirated music, videos, and other materials. In May 2015, new amendments to the law will come into effect, allowing for swifter blocking of websites with pirated content for repeated violations of copyright.

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