Russia’s top internet regulator, the Roskomnadzor, is threatening to block YouTube [Russian] over alleged copyright violations.
The censorship body has officially warned [Russian] YouTube that it must remove unauthorised online copies of two Russian TV shows should it want to avoid being blocklisted.
This is the second time that the Russian federal agency has approached the user-generated content site about TV content, but now YouTube has been given just days to comply with the demands.
On April 2nd of this year, a Moscow city court ruled that the video streaming site violates copyright laws in Russia as it hosts illegal copies of domestic TV series owned by the TNT-network, Chernobyl and Fizruk. YouTube was quick to take down the programmes in question.
Now the Roskomnadzor is claiming that the shows have been uploaded again, along with almost 140 other unauthorised links to the same content.
If YouTube does not remove the corresponding URLs by July 27th, the website will be added to the Russian internet blocklist, according to Russian free media promoter Global Voices Online.
“After three business days, if the unlawful information is not removed, access to these URLs will be restricted by ISPs,” said the internet watchdog in a statement. “This can mean that subscribers of some ISPs will have no access to the entirety of the YouTube service,” it added.
Although some YouTube URLs have been added to the Russian blocklist in the past, now the Roskomnadzor threatens a censorship across the whole YouTube platform in some regions of the country.
“The administration of YouTube has always responded to our needs and removed illegal content. But in [this case] this hasn’t happened for reasons that aren’t apparent to us. We very much hope that we will not have to put YouTube on the blocklist registry,” it told local media.
On August 1st 2013 Russia passed an anti-piracy law which introduced ways for local ISPs to block unauthorised streaming of films. In November last year the law was extended to include all copyrighted online content except images.