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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Russian SOPA Enforced, Next Day Snowden Offered a Job


New anti-piracy law was enforced in Russia on the 1st of August, and local copyright holders seem to be waiting for it. For example, one movie company immediately filed a lawsuit against infamous social networking giant vKontakte (InTouch), but had no success, because it failed to prove it actually owned the content in question. In response, the owners of the largest social network in Europe announced they would love it if Edward Snowden came to work for them and help protecting the privacy of the millions of Internet users.

New legislation in Russia was met by a wave of protests, accounting for over 1,700 websites and services taking part in a SOPA-style “blackout”, trying to demonstrate how the law, which allows for pre-trial blocking of online services, could affect the whole nation. The activists have already started a petition against the law, and it has gathered lots of support – in the first days of August there were 75,000 signatures collected.

The Russian SOPA allows copyright owners to file an official complaint about any online services hosting infringing material or links to it. If the services in question fail to remove such content, their entire domains can be blocked at the ISP level. A local movie company Cinema Without Borders was first to file a lawsuit in the Moscow City Court against vKontakte, claiming that the company was notified about illegal content but failed to respond. The social network denied that version of events. Unfortunately for the plaintiffs, the court decided to reject the lawsuit on the basis of inadequate paperwork.

However, this is not why InTouch hit the headlines today – as you know, a few days ago Edward Snowden was granted temporary asylum in Russia and finally left Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport. It should be noted that the papers provided to him by the Immigration Service not just allow him living in the Russian Federation, but also working in the country. And, if the social networking giant has its way, Edward will be doing that under its guidance.

The founder of InTouch, Pavel Durov, made a statement, officially inviting Edward to Saint Petersburg. Durov emphasized that they would be happy if Edward decided to join their team of programmers at the company. After all, there is no more popular European Internet company than InTouch, so Snowden might be interested in protecting the personal information of its 45 million users.

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