Authorities tighten their control over Internet: Providers to be allowed to block websites

2009 2009-10-23T18:20:17+0300 1970-01-01T03:00:00+0300 en The Human Rights Center “Viasna” The Human Rights Center “Viasna”
The Human Rights Center “Viasna”

The Interior Ministry insists that providers should control respect for author’s rights on the Belarusian Internet.

The new version of the Belarusian law “On Copyright and Related Rights” prescribes actions of an Internet service provider in case when author’s rights violation is detected, “Interfax” was informed by head of the department on intellectual property defence of the Chief Directorate on Corruption and Economic crimes control of the criminal police of the Interior Ministry of Belarus, lieutenant colonel Alyaksandr Kuznyatsou.

“The draft law envisages that a provider would be obliged to take necessary measures in order to rectify author’s rights violations. An author will have a right to address a complaint on the violation to a provider, and after that a provider is to inform the owner of the web- resource about that,” A. Kuznyatsou said.

He added that “providers would have wide powers, they may even deny or disable access to the websites: the draft law includes a provision according to which in case rights of third persons are violated (violators are meant), a provider won’t take responsibility”.

Besides, as said by A. Kuznuatsou, in case a provider would ignore that and won’t take steps for the law to be observed, in the future he is to be jointly and severally responsible, after the author goes to law-enforcing agencies.

As told by him, this provision is introduced in our country for the first time.

“Today an author often cannot detect who violates his rights in the Internet, as an agreement of a provider with a user is a commercial secret. The owner of the rights for information addresses us, law-enforcing agencies, and we start to work with this provider. Before we find that person, this website stops its work, but a new one is opened, with the same authority, but on behalf of a different person”.

It is no problem to start a website: one shouldn’t present a passport, any documents. And it is very difficult to detect those who had placed the information. If the proposed provision of the law would be adopted, providers would be forced to react, in order to avoid responsibility,” A. Kuznyatsou said.

He underlined that “provider won’t bear personal responsibility for provided space”.

He expressed the hope that “in the future, when providers would understand the whole mechanism, they in some degree would be involved in defence of author’s rights themselves, and deal with violators”.

However, as said by Kuznyatsou, at the latest session the new norm provoked disputes.

“It looks as if the Information and Communications Ministry has understood this draft law wrongly. In general, participants of the consultations from the Communications ministry have been explained everything, and they are to report that to their leadership. After a discussion the Communications Ministry is to tell whether they agree to this draft law, or they are to express their considerations,” he said.

“Most likely, the Communications Ministry imagined that providers would be punished everywhere for stolen information placed at their services. But it won’t happen this way,” added the representative of the Interior Ministry.

Under Lukashenka’s Decree number 658 of December 2, 2008 “On the plan of preparation a draft laws for the year 2009”, the draft law “On changes and amendments to the Belarusian law “On Copyright and Related Rights” (new version of the law) is to be offered to the Council of Ministers of Belarus in November, and in March 2010 it is to be offered for consideration of the “chamber of representatives”.