- The Russian Government ordered ISPs in Russia to block 250 Pirate Websites.
- Telecoms watchdog Roskomnadzor ordered the ban after identifying the websites to contain gambling ads.
- The move was acted upon a report filed by the Federal Tax Service of Russia.
The Russian government found a creative way to tackle piracy websites by using old legislation. 250 websites that carry gambling ads in their pages were taken down by ISPs in Russia after being ordered by Russian telecoms watchdog Roskomnadzor. The move against torrent websites comes days after the telecoms watchdog tried to shut down Telegram.
Blocking alleged pirate sites involves proving infringements and applying to courts for an injunction. In Europe, the process has become a lot easier that allows blocking pirate websites on the basis of copyright grounds. According to TorrentFreak reports, Russia has been taking blocking very seriously with copyright infringement allowing the government to block websites in a matter of days if they do not respond to takedown demands.
In 2006, online gambling was banned by Russian authorities. In 2009, physical gambling was also banned except in four regions. Due to these rules in place, Roskomnadzor found it easy to get websites that simply offer information on gambling banned. With a large number of pirate sites promoting online gambling as reported by the Federal Tax Service of Russia, more than 250 websites were banned.
200 of the sites were blocked by local ISPs because they did not remove their advertising when told to do so by the telecom authorities. For the other 50 plus websites, their banes will be revoked if they remove the ads within the given period. The information on these websites was provided by citizens and organizations through a dedicated hotline that is registered under the site of the United Register of Prohibited Information. It was then forwarded to the Federal Tax Service which decided to restrict access to the websites.
The links between online gambling services and pirate sites have always been close with many high-end gambling sites partnering with pirate sites of all sizes. However, with recent campaigns conducted in Europe, US and UK the popularity of gambling advertisements have died down. Pirate sites in Russia will need to comply with the advertisement rules to continue operating if they do not want to be banned.