This study concerns the use of crypto-currency with specific reference to the situation in Russia. A variety of such systems exist; Bitcoin, however, is perhaps the best-known example and will be used as synonymous with the concept throughout this article. Our findings not only show how the views of Russian government bodies are formed and developed, but also sheds light on the specific innovative methods which legal entities use for development of the economy. Consideration will be given to recent developments within Russia which has been more active than many countries in seeking to clarify the status of Bitcoin and providing for the regulation of the technology.
China’s merger enforcement agency approved the Google/Motorola merger with conditions. This pattern of approval is not in full accordance with that in other jurisdictions, including the United States and the European Union, which made unconditional approvals. This contradiction attracted ample criticism; some critics believe that China’s policy is designed to protect domestic industry. In investigating the Chinese merger agency’s decision and the basis for its decision making, this article finds that much of the criticism is groundless and misleading because the critics have failed to incorporate all elements of the global value chain of mobile intelligent terminals into their analyses. The investigation also shows that, although the decision makers are less experienced, their decisions are based on Chinese competition law and market realities. It is important for international firms to be aware of this pattern in merger analysis.
The paper focuses on various legal-related aspects of the application of blockchain technologies in the copyright sphere. Specifically, it outlines the existing challenges for distribution of copyrighted works in the digital environment, how they can be solved with blockchain, and what associated issues need to be addressed in this regard. It is argued that blockchain can introduce long–awaited transparency in matters of copyright ownership chain; substantially mitigate risks of online piracy by enabling control over digital copy and creating a civilized market for “used” digital content. It also allows to combine the simplicity of application of creative commons/open source type of licenses with revenue streams, and thus facilitate fair compensation of authors by means of cryptocurrency payments and Smart contracts. However, these benefits do not come without a price: many new issues will need to be resolved to enable the potential of blockchain technologies. Among them are: where to store copyrighted content (on blockchain or “off-chain”) and the associated need to adjust the legal status of online intermediaries; how to find a right balance between immutable nature of blockchain records and the necessity to adjust them due to the very nature of copyright law, which assigns ownership based on a set of informal facts, not visible to the public. Blockchain as a kind of time stamping service cannot itself ensure the trustworthiness of facts, which originate “off-chain”. Much work needs to be done on the legal side: special provisions aimed at facilitating user’s trust in blockchain records and their good faith usage of copyrighted works based on them need to be introduced and transactions with cryptocurrencies have to be legalized as well as the status of Smart contracts and their legal consequences. Finally, the economics of blockchain copyright management systems need to be carefully considered in order to ensure that they will have necessary network effects. If those issues are resolved in a satisfactory way, blockchain has the potential to rewrite how the copyright industry functions and digital content is distributed.
It is difficult to find a more appropriate introduction than the words of this song in the attempt to assess what IT Law could look like in the UK at the time (whenever that may be1 ) when its exit from the EU might be concluded. Speculation is normally more in the realm of futurists than in that of a lawyer whose profession traditionally values qualities such as stability and predictability. These are not normal times and it may be helpful to consider some of the issues and topics that will require to be addressed in the near future. It is not the purpose of the article to repeat the arguments for and against UK membership of the EU. It seeks, rather, to highlight some of the issues that will inevitably arise following what has been described as the largest demerger in history – with what has been described as the world’s 5th largest economy2 seeking to disengage itself from the world’s largest trading block. It is difficult to imagine that there has ever been such a legislative challenge. The information sector is an increasingly important part of the national economy and consideration of some of the issues affecting it makes for an interesting case study.
This article will focus on four legal topics; data protection, e-commerce, intellectual property and telecommunications. This is by no means an exhaustive list of the issues, even in the IT sector, that need to be addressed, but may serve to highlight some of the key points that will be required for consideration by legislators and to indicate also the scale of the task facing them. In some cases, the quest to seek answers will lie within the control of the UK legislature and government but other issues may be more difficult to resolve independently
In my previous publication I tried to show how personal data legislation may be used for achieving national sovereignty purposes. In this one I will demonstrate how open source software may be used for achieving similar purposes. However, interplay between local copyright law, public procurement law and open source community norms create lots of issues relating to the legal status and ownership in modified software based on open source. It becomes especially actual in cases with so-called copyleft open source licenses, where a collision occures between copyright as an absolute right enforceable against the world and the copyleft provisions of license agreement, which may be treated as “rights in personam” enforceable only against the licensee. Exclusive right to derivative software as an independent object of copyright may come into conflict with restrictions inherited from incoming copyleft license. This paper provides an overview and analysis of such problems faced by Russian software developers attempting to comply with Russian import substitution provisions by using open source components. Although, it is based on Russian law, it may be applicable to other jurisdictions, since it is driven by general aspects of copyright law and its interaction with private international law and contract law. The paper concludes that the developer of software, containing code licensed under GPL or other copyleft provisions receives full exclusive right to the derivative software and can commercialize it as he sees appropriate, subject only to possible claims on breach of contract, not on copyright infringement. This opens wide perspectives for using open source components regardless of the type of license used as bricks for building de-globalized economy and society based on information sovereignty principles.
Alexander Savelyev. Russia’s new personal data localization regulations: A step forward or a self-imposed sanction? // Computer Law & Security Review. Volume 32/1, 2016. P. 128-145.
This paper presents an analysis of Russian data retention regulations. The most controversial point of the Russian data retention requirements is an obligation to keep the content of communications that is untypical for legislation of European and other countries. These regulations that oblige telecom operators and Internet communication services to store the content of communications should come into force on July 1, 2018.
The article describes in detail the main components of the data retention mechanism: the triggers for its application, its scope, exemptions and barriers to its enforcement. Attention is paid to specific principles for implementation of content retention requirements based on the concepts of proportionality, reasonableness and effectiveness.
Particular consideration is given to the comparative aspects of the Russian data retention legislation and those applying in different countries (mainly EU member states). The article focuses on the differences between the Russian and EU approaches to the question of how to strike a balance between public security interests and privacy. While the EU model of data retention is developing in the context of profound disputes on human rights protection, the Russian model is mostly concentrated on security interests and addresses mainly economic, technological aspects of its implementation.
The paper stresses that a range of factors (legal, economic and technological) needs to be taken into account for developing an optimal data retention system. Human rights guarantees play the key role in legitimization of such intrusive measures as data retention. Great attention should be paid to the procedures, precise definitions, specification of entitled authorities and the grounds for access to data, providing legal immunities and privileges, etc. Only this extensive range of legal guarantees can balance intervention effect of state surveillance and justify data retention practices.
The paper represents one of the first comprehensive analyses of Russian personal data localization regulations, which became effective at September 1, 2015. This work describes in details the main components of the data localization mechanism: triggers of its application, scope, exemptions and enforcement. It also takes into account the official and non-official interpretations of the law by Russian regulators, some of which were developed with the participation of the author. Special consideration is given to the jurisdictional aspects of the Russian data protection legislation and the criteria of its application to foreign data controllers. The author also reveals the rationale behind the adoption of data localization provisions and analyzes their possible impact on foreign companies operating in Russia and implementation of innovative IT-technologies (Cloud computing, Big Data and Internet of Things). The paper concludes that the most of the potential benefits of data localization provisions lay in the area of public law: law enforcement activities and taxation. Nevertheless, data localization provisions may still have mid-term positive impact on privacy, since they force all stakeholders to revisit the basic concepts of existing personal data legislation (the notion of personal data, data controller, processing, etc.), thus serving as a driver for re-shaping existing outdated data privacy regulations and crafting something more suitable for the modern IT-environment.
Today's business environment is no longer defined exclusively by bricks and mortar. Business models
of software distribution are constantly evolving as new technologies develop. Traditional retail version
of software products are mostly replaced with digital distribution of copies of software products.
However, these ways of software distribution are by no means exhaustive. Functionality of software is
not necessarily tied with provision of the copy of the relevant program to the user. Instead he can
receive access to it via the Internet without the need to install software onto his computer. This type of
business model received the name "Software-as-a-Service" (SaaS) or, sometimes "Cloud Computing".
The legal nature of relations arising between the user and provider of distant access to such software is
subject to considerable debate in Russia. The main problem is that at first glance it resembles the
features of various types of contracts, recognized in the Civil Code of Russia, although not falling
completely within any of them. At the same time the type of agreement chosen by the parties defines
the legal framework, which governs relevant relations and relevant tax consequences. This article aims
to analyze the nature of existing relations between the user and SaaS-provider and to define whether it
can be characterised as a license, service, lease or some kind of sui generis contract. Based on the
analysis the author comes to a conclusion that as delivery of copies of software becomes less and less
relevant for the software industry, due to the new business models implemented by vendors, the rights
to use the particular copy of software around which the traditional copyright regime has been built,
become more and more superseded with the right to access such software. Thus traditional contractual
models developed for IP distribution (license agreements, assignment agreements) and, more
generally, the legal framework of existing copyright law that is centered on the core idea of the "use" of
the copy, are no longer adequate regulators in the digital era where remote access to objects of
copyright will soon start to dominate.
As rights holders, courts, and policy makers worldwide struggle with the question of copyright infringement and the potential liability of internet service providers (ISPs) worldwide, Russia developed – and subsequently abandoned – a proposal for the creation of a global license to be imposed on ISPs which would allow for rights holders to be compensated for copyright-infringing activities carried out through those ISPs.
Russia is not the first jurisdiction to look at a global license as solution to the wide spread of copyright infringements online. By analysing the Russian proposal for a global license, this article addresses the sustainability of such a model on a wider scale by analysing the legal implications this may cause. In this context, this article will address the Russian proposal's legislative history before moving into a substantive discussion about the synergies between legal justifications and merits of a global license.
This article examines the impact of Big Data technology on Russian citizens' constitutional rights to a private life. There are several laws in the Russian Federation covering data privacy and protection, but these are proving inadequate to protect the citizens' rights in the face of the ever-increasing use of massive data sets and their analysis by Big Data tools. One particular problem in this regard is that datasets of anonymised records currently not covered under personal data laws (because they do not identify individuals) can, in fact, be used to identify data subjects (the individuals to whom the data refers) when combined and analysed using Big Data tools. Furthermore, existing sanctions for misuse of personal data are minor, and often fail to act as a deterrent when the commercial benefits of exploiting user data (e.g. through targeted advertising) are so much greater. From the point of view of companies handling Big Data, a general confusion over definitions and responsibilities is making compliance with the law difficult, leaving most to come up with their own forms of best practice, rather than being able to follow clear industry recommendations. The article examines existing laws and oversight bodies, discusses how the current provisions are inadequate to deal with new developments in Big Data, and proposes recommendations for amending and updating existing laws and policies.
The article analyses Russian regulation and implementation of website blocking in copyright cases. In Russia, right holders can apply for preliminary website blocking injunctions which allow to restrict access to websites used to commit copyright infringements. This gives right holders time to submit a claim against the website operator or hosting provider. In addition, the Russian parliament recently introduced permanent website blocking that can be used against websites which repeatedly infringe copyright.
The article looks into the main trends related to website blocking in Russia: implementation of permanent website blocking, overblocking and lack of proportionality, difficulty to appeal website blocking decisions and the emerging practice of preventive website blocking.
When analysing the Russian developments the article puts them into context with the practices in the EU and UK.