Russian search giant Yandex caved in the 11th hour to demands from top Russian broadcasters.
Major Russian copyright holders filed a copyright infringement complaint on August 24th, alleging that the search indexer was not doing enough to keep pirated content out of its search results. That’s part of an ongoing campaign to regulate the search giant, with pressure intensifying this month.
Russia is notorious for being a haven for pirated content. But apparently a rule of law does exist in this country — or at least something resembling it. But it helps to be a powerful media player.
Accordingly, a Russian court recently decided in favor of the copyright holders, ordering Yandex to remove links to pirated shows from Russian broadcasters like TNT, TV-3, 2×2, and Super.
Yandex had until the end of August 30th to respond to the complaint, or it would be blocked throughout Russia. Yandex initially seemed prepped to fight the ruling, issuing this statement:
“We consider the claims against us to be unreasonable and not in accordance with the law and we will appeal the decision of the Moscow City Court.”
However, as the deadline for compliance neared, Yandex issued a statement using Telegram, stating that they will comply with the ruling from Moscow City Court, but with a caveat included.
“We continue to believe that the requirements are not justified and do not correspond to current legislation and practice of its application. We will challenge them in court.”
Yandex believes that regulations against piracy should be enforced against sites that are hosting the pirated content, rather than search engines indexing pirated content.
“A good solution to the piracy problem must satisfy two principles: transparency and balance,” the company stated. “We ourselves are copyright holders and we will work with other rights holders, regulators and other industry players to create a system in which both these principles will be observed.”
That sounds noble enough. But it also sounds like a losing battle for the Russian search giant, as each of the media outlets mentioned fall under the Gazprom-Media umbrella, which is the largest media holding company in the country.