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Piratical site is an obstacle on Russia’s way to the WTO
October 26, 2006 17:53

For over 10 years Russia has been trying to enter the WTO, and at this moment, when almost everything is arranged and ready, there still exist points hindering the RF from its ambitions.

The most complicated issues at talks covering Russia entering the WTO topic turned to be protection of intellectual property right and safety of agricultural products, notified the USA Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez. The main question is about functioning of a quite popular site charged by the USA of piratical activity, though there is no judicial act proving its guilt.

Visa and MasterCard refused to transfer money for downloading music at Russian site Visa International stopped all operations dealing with the site on September 1, and MasterCard started disseminating recommendations to its business-partners as far back as August. MasterCard will never put up with the fact that its opportunities are used for illegal activities, said the representative of the company Chris Harroll.

Claims on the site were given in a blackmail form. According to the USA representative Susan Shwab, Russia is difficult to be thought of as a member of the WTO with a site, violating everybody’s intellectual property rights.

The results of conducted in Britain spring market research showed that Russian site in terms of sales volume is inferior to Apple iTunes Music Store only and distanced all other foreign music sites; low tracks cost contributes to popularity of However, foreign experts believe that such cheapness is bespoken by the complete absence of author’s remuneration charges. At the same time the general director of Mediaservices company owning Vadim Mamontin blames colleagues for immoderate overpricing. For instance, the cost of one downloaded song at iTunes is comparable with the price of the same song on a CD. “But working on the Internet doesn’t presume expenses wasted on CDs and packs production, designing process and transportation,” he says. “Excessive prices make people try illegal files exchange”.

In his opinion any attempts made to shut up the site can be regarded as noncompetitive ways of fight used by American record companies. Actually, there is a fight for Russian music e-market.

As a result, the flush of newcomers ran down since they were not able to pay for downloading by means of Visa and MasterCard. Anyway, Russian Internet users have nothing to worry about as long as other payment systems operate. The general director of YandexMoney LTD. Evgeniya Zavalishina noted that their company would go on working with as well as with other e-shops offering goods and services validly, as there is no legal opinion concerning infringement of anybody’s intellectual property rights.

According to the committee chairman of the National Association of e-commerce members Pavel Vrublevskiy, the claim for shutting up the site taken as a condition on which Russia can enter the WTO contravenes Russian and international law. To Vrublevsky’s mind, price is determined by the market relying on peculiarities of national consumer’s market and capacity of citizens to pay.

The thought that a site may become a serious reason to prevent Russia from entering the WTO seems merely strange, there must be some other reasons, unspeakable but implicit.


Olga Pletneva


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