Russia seeks to legalize software piracy to circumvent Ukraine-linked tech bans

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Don’t be surprised if software piracy increases in Russia. The growing blockade of certain technologies in Russia has prompted the Kremlin to consider lifting criminal sanctions against digital piracy, according to Russian media.

The Kommersant reports that Russian authorities have considered suspending criminal and administrative liability when it comes to using unlicensed software from countries that have imposed harsh sanctions on Russia.

According to KommersantRussia could legalize software piracy by invoking Article 1360 of the country’s civil code, which allows the government to use an invention or industrial design without the permission of the creator during emergency situations.

Russian news site ANCB.ru also published a draft Kremlin plan that outlines steps it can take to protect the country’s economy in response to US and EU sanctions. In section 6.7.3, the plan notes the “cancellation” of liabilities for unlicensed software through the Russian Ministry of Economic Development.

Embracing software privacy could help Russia deal with the exodus of tech companies from the country following its invasion of Ukraine. Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk and game developers such as Electronics Arts and CD Projekt RED have all exited the market. Others like Apple, Intel, AMD and Nvidia have halted chip and hardware sales in the country.

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According to the Business Software Alliance, Russia had a piracy rate of 62% in 2017 on software installations with an estimated trade value of $1.2 billion. Since then, the tech industry has moved to a subscription model for many products, which rely on a constant connection to the cloud. Thus, hacking will not be able to hack all software experiences.

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