[JURIST] A tough amendment to Russia's copyright protection law [US DOS backgrounder] designed to crack down on the Internet piracy of text, music and videos took effect Friday as part of Russia's bid to join the World Trade Organization [official website]. The Russian parliament originally approved the amendment to Russia's existing copyright protection law [text, English translation] in July 2004; it granted website operators that distribute copyright protected content two years to acquire licenses to distribute their MP3 files.
The United States has cited notoriously lax protections for intellectual property as the major reason for refusing to endorse Russia's entry into the WTO, though the Russian business daily Kommersant claims that 97 percent of music files exchanged online are legal. The new law threatens to sentence violators to up to five years in jail. AFP has more.