Russia Plans to Ease Piracy of Games, Movies to Counter Western Sanctions Amid Ukraine Crisis: Report

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Russia is planning to relax rules governing intellectual property rights to offset the sanctions imposed by Western nations in response to its military offensive against Ukraine. Recently, the Russian Ministry of Economic Development reportedly proposed to ease the piracy legislation, which would effectively legalise the piracy of games, movies, TV shows, and more. The West, including the US, has announced sanctions on Russian elites and financial institutions to dissuade them from escalating the offensive in Ukraine. These moves target the Russian economy and aim to build pressure to stop the war in Ukraine.

However, Russia appears to be looking at ways to minimise the impact of these sanctions. The Ministry of Economic Development has reportedly said that it is considering the possibility of lifting restrictions on the use of intellectual property contained in certain goods, the supply of which to Russia is limited. “This will smooth out the impact on the market of breaks in supply chains, as well as the shortage of goods and services that arose due to new sanctions by Western countries,” it added.

According to a report by London-based City A.M., Russian companies will have no obligation to pay for the use of intellectual property from any countries that have imposed sanctions on Russia.

State-backed newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta reported that Russian politician Dmitry Ionin has suggested that the country unblock torrenting suite RuTracker to help Russians pirate Hollywood films. This demand has come as big Hollywood studios have suspended the release of their films in Russian theatres.

Disney and Sony Pictures are suspending the release of their films in theaters in Russia after Moscow’s assault on Ukraine.

Warner Bros. has pulled The Batman from releasing in Russia. The Robert Pattinson-starrer was set to release in the country on March 3. “We will continue to monitor the situation as it evolves. We hope for a swift and peaceful resolution to this tragedy,” a WarnerMedia spokesperson said in a statement.

“Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we are pausing the release of theatrical films in Russia, including the upcoming Turning Red (review) from Pixar,” Disney said in a statement.

“We will make future business decisions based on the evolving situation,” the US entertainment giant added. “In the meantime, given the scale of the emerging refugee crisis, we are working with our NGO partners to provide urgent aid and other humanitarian assistance to refugees.”

Sony Pictures also said it would pause its planned theatrical releases in Russia, including the upcoming title Morbius. This is due to “the ongoing military action in Ukraine and the resulting uncertainty and humanitarian crisis unfolding in that region,” the company said in a statement.




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