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The law "On amendments into some legal acts concerning intellectual property" supposed to strengthen protection of copyright including in the Internet came into force on February 1. The law has created big agiotage among the Internet-users, discussing the ban on audio and video files downloading through trackers and stating that the violators will be punished and even their equipment will be withdrawn. Shavkat Sabirov, interim president of the Internet Association of Kazakhstan told how the life of Internet users would change with the law.


-Shavkat Umarovich, is that true that the new law bans downloading any information through trackers, including music and films?


-This agiotage was crated by the companies involved in bootleg business. They started fighting with the draft law last year, tried to sling mud on us, wrote applications to the government, and even founded their organization, thus we were under pressure from their side. Now we are on the second, and hopefully, the last stage of struggle with pirates. It is the same struggle, like the one with the pirates in Somali. There is no a single word in the law about downloading ban. The law, first of all, is supposed to protect the right of Kazakhstani creative people, who create their products- they are composers, authors of songs. Writers, photographers, journalists, operators and etc. The law describes the order of patent activity and states about trademarks and copyright. As a whole this law is very important and essential for our state. It is impossible to develop "Intellectual nation- 2020" without rights for intellectual property.


The law is supposed to struggle with those, who represent a source of pirate content, for the account of somebody's labor and ideas they get good profit. For example, a well-known Kazakhstani video-portal broadcasts an author program of Kazakhstani TV channel. Nobody pays for watching it on this page, which is attended by several hundreds of people a day and placing huge amount of advertisement. This advertisement is money of a TV channel or an author of this program. The owners of the source, along with increasing number of visitors, starts attracting advertisers. He gets money for the advertisement, which, actually should be in the hands of the TV channel or the author of the program.


-Which measures will be taken against violators, in this case, against sources of pirate content?


-According to our proposal the code on administrative violations was amended with such term as "warning". Thus, a proprietor of a resource will have a chance to delete illegal object from his site. If he ignores this requirement, and violates the law, he will be punished. The fines will vary from 10 to 800 MCI ( 1 MCI=1618 tenge), people might be attracted to public work and even imprisoned with property confiscation. The measure of guiltiness will be defined by the court


-What if a foreign source violates the rights of Kazakhstani authors?


-A special amendment in the law "On Mass Media" - point 3 article 24- states that, first of all, a proprietor of an Internet source must observe Kazakhstani legislation. The access, or in other words, the source with pirate content will be blocked for spread of products violations the law of our state. For example, there are twp-three internet-sources which spread Kazakh songs without agreements with their authors. Such sources directly concern the interests of Kazakhstani authors. Undoubtedly, access to such pirate sites must be limited.


-Is there an alternative to such pirate sources?


-There is always an alternative. For example, iPhone users pay less than 150 tenge for downloading music, ringtones, programs and others. It doesn't create surprise, it is normal. But why nobody pays for the songs of Kazakhstani authors? Why Kazakhstani authors cannot get compensation? Of course, there are sites which present such services absolutely legally. Just think, what is the sense of creating a legal content, which is continuously stolen? The alternative appears only in case when there is order and law. Wild and black market is beneficial only for pirates. The situation with films is more complicated, as time is needed for a film distribution, then licensed CDs are issued and sold. Only after this TV companies can buy rights for broadcasting on TV.


-Will music listening and watching film in "online" regime be considered as violation?


-No, listening and watching "on line" for private use, for acquaintance is not a violation.


-Will the violations concern open source, which is initially free- it is unix- and software for them (Linux, Gimp, Android, Mozilla Firefox и thunderbird, Open Office and others)?


-Not as well, as open source is created to be available for everybody.


-What is the percentage of pirate content in Kazakhstani Internet? Won't blocking of such sites affect the development of Kazakhstani internet as a whole, as many Kazakhstani sites survive for the account of music and video exchange between the users?


-I think there are a dozen of pirate sites. But there are sources, which started moving to legal business since last year. As for Kaznet development, perhaps, external traffic will increase, as downloading will not stop in one day. In a short term the situation will get calmer. I can assure you that no reduction of its level will take place. There will be no harm for law-abiding internet-sources. The time of free load has gone.


-How will resources with pirate content be monitored and who will have authority to take measures against their proprietors?


-The monitoring has been held for a long time. All the copyright holders know who steals and how, and they must have a number of materials in this branch. Legal penalty will be defined by a court, authorized body, financial police, prosecution general, MIA will fight with violators. For this one should apply with an application to corresponding bodies about copyright violation.


-It is clear that the money obtained from fines will be directed to the state budget. Will the authors get some part of compensation from the fines?


-Of course, the fines will be in the state budget. But a copyright holder in his application can declare the sum of the damage and moral damage as well. Once again I will say that an author will have to submit an application for that.


-When will pirate content disappear from Kaznet?


-It is disappearing now, and I hope, there won't be any at all. I think that it will be more difficult for torrents to operate, which distribute the content which violates the legislation, as the sources of pirate content are being liquidated throughout the world. It is a constant process, constant struggle or war. Now, cinemas have become an integral part of cultural development of Kazakhstani people. By the way, licensed films can be watched at home through iD-TV and people have to pay for this service. This business is legal. We are on the way towards law obedience.


-Thank you for the interview!


Almaty. February 6. KazTAG - Irina Gumyrkina.