Recently, Russia has increased its efforts to protect intellectual property and counter piracy.
Education and Science Minister Andrei Fursenko, the deputy chairman of the governmental commission for countering intellectual property rights violations, met with U.S. Ambassador to Russia Alexander Vershbow to discuss the protection of the American intellectual property on the Russian market. Boris Simonov, the director of the Russian federal service for intellectual property, patents and trademarks, was recently appointed to this governmental commission.
After the talks, the U.S. ambassador said that copyright violations in Russia caused serious financial harm to American manufacturers of audio and video material on CDs and DVDs. The United States estimates that it loses $1 billion a year because of piracy in Russia.
Mr. Vershbow emphasized that the United States was pleased that Russia understands the problem and has expanded efforts to counteract piracy. According to the ambassador, it is extremely important for the Russian and U.S. presidents to agree on joint actions on this issue, as piracy affects both countries' economies.
According to Mr. Fursenko, it is in Russia's interests to support Russians with creative jobs - artists, singers, musicians and painters - and to protect scientists developing and introducing innovation technologies.
The meeting also focused on the practical efforts that would be made in the next few months. According to the U.S. ambassador, the dialogue was constructive and both sides were satisfied to note a common understanding of the piracy problem and ways to achieve the objectives.
The ambassador also highly assessed the amendments that the State Duma recently adopted to the law "On Copyright and Related Rights." He said he closely followed the discussions about these amendments and was happy that many of the United States' recommendations were properly understood. According to him, the new law creates a far more effective structure for copyright protection and the fight against piracy.
The U.S. was particularly happy with the fact that the equipment used to make pirated products would be seized and destroyed.
Russia and the United States are becoming more aware of the fact that the fight against piracy in Russia can only be successful if it is combined with a better legal framework and the necessary economic conditions. Mr. Fursenko stressed that conditions should be created to make the punishment for piracy greater and the production of pirated materials more expensive, which would decrease profits from piracy and thus reduce its economic appeal. At the same time, the price of legal good quality products should be lowered as well.
In this regard, the sides discussed reducing the price of American CDs and DVDs to make them more affordable for Russians. Work with intellectual property right holders to reduce the price of licensing copyrights for honest Russian producers is proceeding. There have already been positive results: the gap between prices for authentic and pirated American audio and video products on Russian markets has reduced from 3-4 times as high to 15-20% as high.
These efforts will be continued and Mr. Vershbow said that two large U.S. DVD manufacturers had already expressed a willingness to produce DVDs in Russia.