Russia is considering legalizing software piracy

Russia is considering decriminalizing piracy due to ongoing sanctions and boycotts by Western companies.

Because of its war of aggression against Ukraine, Russia is increasingly being sanctioned and boycotted by many companies. Apple, Microsoft, some publishers and many other companies have already stopped their sales and services in Russia. The Putin government is now considering legalizing piracy as a countermeasure. As reported by several media, including Arstechnica.

According to Russian law, the government can already authorize the use of intellectual property “in emergencies to ensure the defense and security of the state” “without the consent of the patent owner”. This is according to a report in the Russian business daily Kommersant, discovered and translated by technology law attorney Kyle Mitchell.

So far, however, the plan has not been put into action, but it could happen soon. This would create “a mechanism for compulsory licensing of software, databases and technology for integrated microcircuits” that would apply to companies from countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia, according to Kommersant.

While no names are named in the article, many large Western companies have drastically scaled back their operations in Russia.


Piracy allowed if there are no Russian alternatives

A document entitled “Priority Plan for Ensuring the Development of the Russian Economy in Conditions of External Sanctions Pressure”, translated to the Torrentfreak website, outlines some of the measures under consideration. The plan was drawn up by the Russian Ministry of Economic Development and contains several measures which, if passed, will be taken by copyright, patent and trademark owners acting against Russia’s interests.

The point listed in 6.7.3 tries to solve the problem of revocation or refusal to issue software licenses by foreign companies. Under current Russian law, unlicensed software is illegal, but if the new measures are adopted, it will

Software piracy will no longer be a punishable offense in some cases


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