Russia to ease software licensing rules after sanctions

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Russian authorities are drawing up a package of measures to support the country’s economy against the pressure of foreign sanctions, and when it comes to software licensing, the proposal gives a green light to a form of piracy.

Specifically, the suggested plan is to establish a “unilateral” software licensing mechanism that would renew expired licenses without requiring the consent of the copyright or patent owner.

This special process will be eligible in cases where the copyright holder is from a country that supported sanctions against Russia and only for products with no Russian alternatives available.

The move comes in response to the exit of many software companies from the Russian market and the suspension of sales of new licenses, including Microsoft, Cisco, Oracle, NVIDIA, IBM, Intel and AMD.

Article 1360 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation allows the government “to use an invention, utility model or industrial design without the consent of the patent owner” without authorization as long as the patent owner is informed and that a reasonable fee is paid.

“In the interest of national security, the Government of the Russian Federation has the right to authorize the use of an invention, utility model or industrial design without the consent of the owner of the patent, provided that he is notified as soon as possible and the payment to him a reasonable remuneration, ”explains the Civil Code of the Russian Federation.

In several proposed amendments to the Russian Civil Code, the Russian Ministry of Digital Transformation wants to circumvent the compensation of licensees subject to sanctions so that they can continue to use the software.

“Amendment to Art. 1360 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation regarding the use of a license and other types of rights on RIA and the abolition of compensation for foreign companies from states that have adhered to the Federal Sanctions Act,” reads the translation. proposed amendments.

The Russian Ministry of Digital Transformation hopes that this emergency measure will help maintain the inertia of the local economy despite the drastic sanctions which are crushing the Russian economy.

Of course, software products that rely on cloud services or online verification will stop working, as unilateral signing cannot help override restrictions in these cases.

The proposal does, in essence, only remove the legal repercussions of the use of pirated software in Russia, which is moreover very strictly enforced in the country, even abused as a pretext to block sites.

Violation of copyright and related rights is part of the criminal code in Russia, punishable by up to six years in prison and fines of up to 500,000 rubles, or three years in prison. offender’s salary.

However, the Russian state does not call this measure a catalyst for piracy and warns that copyright infringement is still illegal and prosecuted, and this provision should not be considered an exemption from liability for the use pirated software.

Other drastic measures

Although Russia’s internet watchdog has attempted to censor information by taking unprecedented action against Western media, it seems that disconnecting the whole country from the “free” web is the only definitive solution to this effect.

The so-called ‘runet’, Russia’s sovereign internet, has been in the works for years and was reportedly successfully tested for real-world deployment with the cooperation of all major internet providers in the country last summer. .

Today, leaked letters allegedly from the Deputy Minister of Digital Marketing and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation appeared on Twitter, containing instructions to all organizations on how to prepare for runet login.

Another key issue is processors, or at least they soon will be, as Russia will soon face shortage and obsolescence issues.

In anticipation of this, the state attempted to push locally made transformers into various critical areas of the public sector, which drew complaints even from the Home Office, which openly criticized the products as weak and prone to overheating.

The most notable example is the Elbrus-8C manufactured by MCST, a 1.3 GHz, 70 W eight-core TDP processor built on an outdated 28-nanometer process and supporting up to DDR3-1600 memory. .

In December 2021, the Ministry of Industry and Trade approved a fund of 7.1 billion rubles (USD 92 million at the time) to help MCST accelerate the development of new and better processors.

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