We already brought you news of Russia’s SOPA-like legislation which is still on track to pass and come into effect by August. Now a new report by TorrentFreak suggests that the Russian SOPA could see sites like Wikipedia, Google and Yandex shut down.
According to Wikimedia Russia executive director, “Stanislav Kozlovsky”, Wikipedia Russia is vulnerable to being shut down. The new legislation, which comes into effect on August 1st, states that copyright holders can have websites blocked if they host or link to infringing material. Wikipedia has millions, maybe even billions, of hyperlinks and other content that is user -submitted and impossible to verify. This leaves it in a vulnerable position. Google and Yandex are also worried because they index billions of links too and they are only search engines. Yet the new law proposes to shut them down if they do not remove infringing links found in search results available to Russian internet users.
Google’s transparency report does show that a lot of copyright holders have been quick to try and get Wikipedia pages de-listed in the past. Now that they can legally complain to the Russian authorities they will no doubt jump at the opportunity. Over the past few years Sony, Microsoft, The Publishers Association, Home Box Office and Warner have all complained to Google and asked them to delist certain Wikipedia pages. In most cases Google denied such requests but would the Russian government do the same? Furthermore, would an overload of anti-Wikipedia requests by copyright holders lead to Wikipedia being blocked?
Image courtesy of Wikipedia Russia