Press Minister: Russian government can deal with piracy

Press Minister Mikhail Lesin met with a delegation of international federation of producers of phonograms (IFPI) and its President Jim Berman and also directors of Sony Music International, Universal Music International, Warner Music and EMI. The Press Ministry's press service told Rosbalt that at the meeting they discussed the condition of the music industry in Russia, problems of legal regulation in the sphere of intellectual copyrights and also activities of government organs to oppose violations in this area.

Participants of the meeting said that in Russia a lot is being done for the observation of laws in the area of intellectual copyrights. In part, in December 2002 a special government committee was created with Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov as its head, and in April 2003 President Vladimir Putin confirmed changes to the criminal code which cracked down harder on responsibility for violations of author's rights. From September 2002, the Press Ministry proceeded to act on illegal licensing of activities of companies, and circulation of audio and video products.

At the same time in 2002 in Russia approximately 175 million of 230 million audio cassettes (76%) were pirated. 75 million of 87 million (86%) produced CDs were illegally produced.

Lesin told directors of IFPI about the work plans of the government commission and assured them that the 'Russian government has sufficient political will to overcome the situation with the production of illegal products and clean up the domestic audio video market of piracy over the next two years.'

The head of the IFPI said that optical disks are illegally produced in Russia and illegally exported to other countries and brought Lesin's attention to the necessity to take measures to neutralize this process.

Lesin, in his turn, turned the attention of foreign owners of rights to the necessity of transferring production of audio and video products to Russia. Lesin said that this would be a real step in the right direction in the struggle against piracy, and allow them to make licensed products for less, more accessible for consumers and also give Russian producers more of an opportunity to realize their potential.

IFPI is the oldest international non-profit organization representing the rights of the sound recording industry. IFPI unites more than 1.5 thousand companies, producers and distributors of phonograms in 75 countries including Russia.

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