Russia to legalize hacking to circumvent sanctions

Steph Deschamps / March 16, 2022

A document details a series of measures that Russia intends to put in place to get around the Western sanctions that are dealing a very hard blow to the country's economy. The document states that Russia could legalize software piracy if the program's publisher is based abroad in a country taking part in the sanctions.
The measure, which would supplement the provisions of the Code of Administrative Offenses and the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, would prevent prosecution of illegal use of licensed foreign software when the software is owned by a rightful owner from a country that supports sanctions.
In addition, the document proposes to stop honoring the payment of licenses and any other type of intellectual property to foreign rights holders when they are from countries supporting sanctions. De facto, these measures, if implemented, would legalize the piracy of foreign software, films, series, and other intellectual property in the country.
The proposal does not change the anti-piracy measures for software and other content owned by Russian rights holders. At this stage it is not certain that McDonalds, Starbucks, Visa, Mastercard, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Netflix, Epic Games, Samsung or Ikea will resume their activities in Russia in the near future. In all, more than 250 leading foreign companies have left the country because of the war.
Vladimir Putin has already threatened to replace these companies with Russian alternatives. But the task is becoming more complicated by the day. Because inevitably, these chain defections have a cumulative effect. Let's note in passing that brands like McDonalds are ultra-popular in Russia.
And that the symbol of the closing of the restaurants is likely to encourage many Russians to question the official news about the war in Ukraine (which the authorized media continue to qualify as a simple military operation or conflict). The choice of the Russian regime not to play the game of the international community in order to continue its war in Ukraine already seems to isolate the country for a long time, in addition to stimulating waves of internal protests potentially more and more risky for the power.


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