YouTube and Yandex Close to an ISP-Level Ban in Russia

By Bill Toulas / December 25, 2019

As reported by, YouTube and Yandex are close to being permanently blocked by Russian ISPs (Internet Service Providers). The problem seems to be related to copyright infringement cases that brought the services in front of justice. The Moscow City Court is called to decide what is going to happen with the case that was submitted to them by Eksmo, Russian’s largest publishing house. Eksmo is also supported by the AZAPI anti-piracy group, who stated that they are preparing other cases to run once this one is done.

The problem for YouTube and Yandex is that users are uploading stuff that is licensed content, and the owners of the content rights aren’t happy about it. While the video platforms are responsive to DMCA takedown requests, some rightsholders don’t even care about going through the official process and just report the offense to the court, asking for compensation. This has created a big problem for video platforms, especially giants like YouTube as it is practically impossible to check everything that people upload there.

In the case of Eksmo and AZAPI, the two claim that YouTube’s takedown system simply doesn’t work in a way that helps them protect their content effectively. They are reporting that several of their takedown notices are ignored by YouTube and Yandex, or are addressed way later, or that users simply re-upload the same infringing content later on. An example is given in the sci-fi novel “The Three-Body Problem” by author Liu Cixin, which has an audio version that leaked on the two video platforms. Despite the repeated efforts of the publisher to take the videos down, YouTube and Yandex responded erratically and failed to put re-uploading blocks. Simply put, removing an infringing video isn’t stopping the same or another user from uploading the copyrighted content again, and having to go through the same process to remove it is tedious for the publishers.

The court has now ordered the immediate removal of the audiobook and imposed a block on this material on both sites. However, the case is still under consideration, and the blocking of the two video platforms in Russia is quite possible. Of course, this is not as simple as it sounds, as both Yandex and YouTube are extremely popular in the country, and it will not be as "easy" as replacing Wikipedia for example. In any case, if you’re looking for a reliable VPN solution that will help you roam the internet freely and anonymously while in Russia, check out this list.

Do you think there’s a real chance that Yandex and YouTube will be blocked in Russia, or is this just wishful thinking from the publisher? Share your views with us in the comments down below, or on our socials, on Facebook and Twitter.

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