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This paper suggests that media piracy in Russia is a cultural phenomenon caused largely by long-standing state ideological pressures. It also questions the common approach that considers the issue of piracy in economic or legal terms. In Russia, piracy historically concerns not only copyright issues but also censoring practices, and the sharing of pirated content is a socially acceptable remnant of Soviet times. This paper uses an institutional approach to show how anti-copyright state policy was used in the Soviet time to curtail the freedom of speech. Analysis of the new anti-piracy law reveals that current state policy intended to protect copyright may also be used to control content; moreover, this analysis concludes that the new policy is not likely to curb piracy.
This paper investigates the relationship between the Russian government and mass media businesses. With the state ownership monopoly in the past, transitioning countries do not have evolutionary experience of enforcing corporate law, transparency or protecting minority shareholder rights, and balanced response to stakeholder interests. These represent formal valuable instruments of formal economy. We examine Russia’s recent developments in ownership structure in mass media industries based on insider information – semi-structured interviews with owners and/or top managers of mass media companies from Russian regions, capital cities, and also freelancers who are not affiliated with traditional media companies. With consensus to principles of democratic developments, the share of the state ownership and non-related businesses in Russia’s mass media capital decreased dramatically. Does it mean that mass media companies are becoming independent from the state and oligarchs? We argue that it is still far from being true, and informal pressures and controls over mass media have been developed and are widely used in Russia. We state that loyalty to state/municipal/regional powers (lobbying of their interests) helps these companies to compete against “independent” media. This erosion of principles of independence of mass media in Russia is the result of a corrupted governance model.