Russia looks to legalise software piracy to bypass Ukraine related tech bans

Russia looks to legalise software piracy to bypass Ukraine related tech bans

The Kremlin is considering suspending criminal penalties for citizens using unlicensed software products.

Published on 11th March 2022

Don’t be surprised if software piracy surges in Russia. The growing blockade on certain tech inside Russia has prompted the Kremlin to consider lifting criminal penalties on digital piracy, according to Russian media.

The Kommersant reports that Russian authorities have discussed suspending criminal and administrative liabilities when it comes to using unlicensed software from countries that have imposed harsh sanctions on Russia.

According to the Kommersant, Russia could legalize the software piracy by citing Article 1360 of the country’s civil code, which allows the government to use an invention or industrial design without the creator’s permission during emergency situations.

Russian news website also posted a draft plan from the Kremlin that outlines the measures it can take to protect the country’s economy in response to US and European sanctions. Under section 6.7.3, the plan notes “canceling” liabilities for unlicensed software through Russia’s Ministry of Economic Development.

Embracing software privacy could help Russia address the exodus of tech firms from the country in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine. Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk and gaming developers such as Electronics Arts and CD Projekt RED have all left the market. Others such as Apple, Intel, AMD, and Nvidia have stopped chip and hardware sales to the country.

According to the Business Software Alliance, Russia had a piracy rate of 62% in 2017 across software installs for an estimated commercial value of $1.2 billion. Since then, the tech industry has been moving to a subscription model for many products, which rely on a constant connection to the cloud. So piracy won’t be able to bootleg every software experience.


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