“Russian” Internet composed mostly of Foreign Criminals

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We’ve repeatedly pointed out that less than a fifth of the Russian population has Internet access, which isn’t surprising given that the average wage is $3/hour and the cost of Internet use is similar to that in the West.  The Russian website Veb Planeta recently carried the following op-ed item, translated by Profy (hat tip: Global Voices).  It points out the flip side to this issue, namely that more than half the traffic on the Russian internet consists of thieves seeking to profit from lax Russian copyright protection:

Russia is well-known for its liberty when it comes to piracy: one almost never sees a court trial featuring any crime related to downloading content from torrents or using pirated software here in Russia. But I did not really know Russia has already become a safe shelter for foreign pirates – in the way that Las Vegas has become for the US people in gambling.

It now turns out that more than a half (52%) of all the visitors to all the web resources in the Russian internet segment are foreign pirates who rush to the local web resources looking for free content that is easily available on the popular Russian torrents.

All these numerous people only arrive to websites in the .ru top-level domain for one purpose: they will hardly visit a local search engine, read news or use any entertainment portals as they will quickly rush to one of the available torrents looking for the content that is not that easy to find online elsewhere.

As a result, the popular Russian Torrents.ru was visited by 2.7 million of Russians and 4.8 million of foreign visitors in March 2009 according to ComScore. The most impressive thing is that this traffic is only 3 times lower than that of The Pirate Bay which generates half of the entire world torrents traffic. So the scale is more than impressive to me already.

Additionally such foreign visitors may want to consume some porn content that is either free in Russia or much less expensive than it is elsewhere. And whatever the content is – some porn or some movies or music from torrents – the results are impressive as incoming foreign traffic is 1.5-2 times lower than outgoing traffic with foreign visitors eagerly downloading content they come looking for here.

So while copyright owners make life harder for anyone who is willing to get some content for free in Europe or in the US, here in Russia the legislation is still far from what it takes to make piracy manageable – hence the result with Russia now having a certain image of a country where you can grab all the content without the threat of punishment. And as a Russian I would not say I’m really happy about this new popularity of Russian web resources because it does not feel good to live in a country that steals content from people and welcomes other people to come and grab it for free.

26 responses to ““Russian” Internet composed mostly of Foreign Criminals

  1. Avel Yenukidze

    I THANK GOD for Russian pirates.
    Some of the best Soviet scifi like Mechte Nawstrechu, Doroga k Zvezvdam and others
    are available thanks to them.
    I’ve downloaded everything I need from Russian
    pirates and I applaud their noble efforts.

    I urinate on DRM and the so-called
    “copyright owners”.
    They want to put a cake on your table in front
    of you and tell you to just look at it, don’t eat it.

    If you do not like “piracy”, then capitalist
    tendencies have influenced your brain too much.

    • Hey, Avel, how would it work out for you if I swiped your intellectually property?

      Let’s pretend that you are selling a record or a book that you put your talent and money into making on the internet and I come along and steal it and give it away for free. You get nothing for your efforts.

      Any thoughts about that being wrong?

  2. Dear avel yenukidze,

    Your first sentence is a sinful oxymoron!

    7Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain: for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.

    15Thou shalt not steal. 16Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. 17Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.

    7 Не призивай Імення Господа, Бога твого, надаремно, бо не помилує Господь того, хто призиватиме Його Ймення надаремно.

    15 Не кради!

    16 Не свідкуй неправдиво на свого ближнього!

    17 Не жадай дому ближнього свого, не жадай жони ближнього свого, ані раба його, ані невільниці його, ані вола його, ані осла його, ані всього, що ближнього твого!

    Exodus 20

    Chapter 20

    Sincerely,
    LES

    PS Finally, a poster boy for the KGB appears.

  3. I love Garbushka, I buy DVD by the dozens when Im in Moscow. The copyright protected “originals” in the West are ok if they are in sale but new releases are impossible. Its better to watch movies on demand on cable. I mean common, who would pay 20 quid for a film you may not even like in the end. I can only shout Ahoy and keep the good work on the pirates in Russia. The sooner they ruin the majority of LA studios the better for American industry.

  4. Funky, but if the Russian pirates ruin the LA movie studios where will Funky get his cable download movie content to watch?

    Not the best idea, Funky.

  5. I said majority should fail, because they suck anyway. The fittest should come up with a better strategy. Such as making people want to go to cinemas, lower the prices of DVD’s, make them more accessible worldwide. Thanks God I buy my DVD players in Russia with no region chip. One of my family members brought a load of DVD’s from the US, we have many from Russia and of course European. You know what pain in the ass that is? I can’t even watch them with most legal digital players on PC. No wonder people download like crazy.

  6. Hey, Spunky, you need to take your creepy anti-Semitism from another of your posts today and hit the road.

    There are plenty of neo-Nazi skinhead sites that are looking for you and would appreciate your DVD collection more than us.

  7. As I told you I don’t know of any Semites (that’s Bible crap), we call them Afro-Asiatic today. You know a language group. But I think Boris and Khodor are more Irano-Turkic and should really hop on bus and go to Damascus, it would be glorious.

  8. penny –
    Who said that every response to a troll is a lifeline? :)

  9. Felix in one post you said you tell people you are American and not Russian because you think its better for you image. Why don’t you tell them who you really are, would that be good for your image?:-))))

  10. Anyway calling me a troll won’t help, I know you people like to pick on Russians with bad English, tough luck, I have free time now…

  11. FunkySpunky

    We are not trolling, we are asking simple questions.

    Hello from rts

  12. FunkySpunky
    “I have strange feeling I am going to get a ban for asking questions.”

    You are very insightful. That’s a way with them.

  13. Penny, stop worrying about Hollywood, it’s one of the only industries in the US that’s making any money right now. If you wrote a book or made an album, your publishing company or record label has first dibs on your intellectual property, intellectual property laws are designed to benefit the corporation, not the artist, just ask the other 4 Beach Boys, or the Motown backing band that played on my hit then Elvis or the Beatles combined, but live a life of obscurity and poverty (the ones left living). Or any bluesman out there driving a bus.

    Plenty of people don’t care about intellectual property, and many of them live in the US. The Russians are transitioning from a society that didn’t have the concept to as society that does. In today’s world the concept of digital theft is hard to envision, because after this theft there is not actually missing. Young people all over the world are re-inventing the concepts with remix and mash-up technology, and it is evident that there needs to be a major rewrite of intellectual property in the digital age. For example if LR reprints Yulia Latinina word for word, but uses the hits on that page to sing her/their own praises, isn’t that something like copying? Now, I’m not saying he/she/they shouldn’t do it, I’m just using this as an example of the new age of information and the way information is shared differently and 20th century law just doesn’t cover it.

    • You are saying that the law protects a corporation not the creative person as if that would make it alright. So, let’s say that you are right and the corporation is the beneficiary of the law. Is it then OK to go and to steal as if the corporation was some kind of a menace? You wouldn’t use this kind of justification it for any other kind of property, would you? Is shoplifting OK? After all, the merchandise belongs to a department store company.

      Intellectual property laws intend to protect the owner whoever that lawful owner happens to be; in case of music and such is to protect the artist or an entity to which the artist sold this property. I have heard this argument (that nothing is actually missing) many times and still don’t understand how people can condone theft.

      • Rudof diesel invented the diesel engine, does he get paid every time a gallon of diesel is sold? No. Is he any less creative then Walt Disney? Not likely.

        Firstly, I suggest you look up theft in the dictionary: it says the act of TAKING and carrying away something.

        How about this, you go into your theoretical department store you put on a dress, you take a picture of yourself in this dress and you put it on your facebook page. Is this theft as well? No. But it’s using the image of something that is not yours. Then is my friend giving me an MP3 of a song theft? In your book, yes. What was actually stolen, what is missing? Nothing. Is the CD still on his shelf, yes, did he pay for it? Yes. But this prevents money that the entertainment corporation was supposed to get from selling it to me from getting to the company. If you go into a restaurant eat dinner, pay you bill, but leave no tip, is that theft? That’s money the waiter was expecting to get, feels he should have got. But you decided you didn’t want to pay for his service, and you didn’t, and there’s nothing he can do about it. Why? Because he doesn’t have a lobbist, and because you didn’t actually take anything from him, you simply did not give something to him, is it fair, no, but who said life is fair.

        My point about corporations is intellectual property law has been developed by them, by lobbying, litigating, and unjustly in their favor. Disney’s been dead for more then 50 years, his images should be public domain, that was the deal when he made his copyrights, but if you know enough lawyers and enough senators, you can get these things changed.

        Stan Lees gets a million dollars every time a Spiderman movie comes out, but every other artist who ever drew it doesn’t, everyone who worked the comic book in which Spiderman premiered gets bumpkus, the people who drew colored an lettered it get nothing, the people, Stan Lee is a writer, not an artist, he his however a very good business man, and he get all the money.

        When a Russian watches a bootleg copy of Shallow Hal, I won’t feel sorry for Universal Pictures, I’ll just feel sorry for him.

  14. You can see where all the oil revenue from the past is being siphoned into…the ministry of propaganda/public information.

    Anyways, the only thing Russia has going for it these days (besides commodities) is its criminal population. When they are bored of ripping each other off, or beating the crap out of each other or darker skinned foreigners walking around, they turn to spam and malware since those are the employment opportunities they have.

  15. Hey, what’s the problem? I see:

    “the popular Russian Torrents.ru was visited by 2.7 million of Russians and 4.8 million of foreign visitors”

    Man, looks like it’s foreigners who don’t respect the intellectual property, not russians ;) I think we don’t have 4.8 million of pirates for the whole population of Russia. You foreign visitors are so impudant to download content from our trackers and still blame our country?

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    Sorry if your tiny little pea brain couldn’t grasp the point. It wasn’t that Russians are corruptly ignoring copyright protection (although they are) but that Russia’s Internet traffic is actually half the size one might think because half is comprised of foriengers. Only one fifth of Russians can access the Internet at all, meaning that the idea it is an avenue of free expression in Russia is a lie.

    Or did you realize that, and were trying to change the subject to one less damning?

  16. Russians are just behind the curve with the internet. In less then 10 years all mobile phones will have internet access and we already know that most Russians have a mobile phone. It’s not internet access, it’s what you DO with it that counts. All the Russians I know with high speed internet still believe channel One, just like so many Americans prefer Fox News to going out and finding the truth for themselves.

  17. Mark

    Americans are so intimidated by political discorse, they feel certain they don’t understand anything. If you ask them for an opinion, most of the time they won’t tell you what they think. Even if they do, they almost apologise for having a view. They find it easier to retort to the intricacies of baseball instead. The constant government and corporate business surveillance through computerized data bases has its effect on most carrier-minded educated Americans.

    You clearly see the shadows of blank fear when in the US. When you try to explain to them political things outside the US they take it as you want to make them feel bad.

    But I can’t say Americans are behind the curve with the internet, they are behind something else. The same goes for Russia.

  18. Увлекательно. Поброжу у вас еще. А долго ли писали этот пост?

  19. May all the evil things and lies said by the owners of this web site against President Putin and Russia return on you threefold. May you not go unpunished from this day onwards. See whether this will become true on you in the near furure.

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