Ukraine’s aggression has led to Russia’s possible legalization of software piracy

Ukraine's aggression has led to Russia's possible legalization of software piracy

The Russian government has been considering the legalization of software piracy as an official policy, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov.

The reason is that the United States and EU had placed sanctions on Russia over its aggression in Ukraine, including targeted economic sanctions against specific businesses and economic sectors.

These sanctions have been felt by many Russian businesses, both state-owned and private, and are said to be one of the main reasons why Russia has taken such action in recent years.

Why Russia needs to legalize software piracy

This is great news for many Russian IT and gaming companies that have been exporting software across Europe, the United States, and Asia.

Software pirates in Russia will still need to be careful not to get caught. However, if they know what they are doing and know where to look, several reputable sites advertise that they offer the latest PC games, movies, and more at cheaper rates than those found on legitimate websites.

Most reviews say that the download speeds are much faster with no file size limits.

The beauty of obtaining software through these websites is that they are not subject to licensing agreements which means you will never be required to pay a royalty fee on your sales.

So, as long as it doesn’t become legalized, at least Russian developers and distributors have another revenue stream besides their normal operations. This can also work for IT companies in North America that need their updates for service but do not want consumers using pirated versions.

Having an alternative revenue stream like updates from a major manufacturer will help them maintain profits that would otherwise be lost due to people purchasing illegal copies online. If a site could offer Microsoft Windows updates without any software protection mechanisms in place, who wouldn’t go there?

How Russia can legalize software piracy

In response to sanctions from the United States and European Union to punish the country for the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin is threatening retaliation, which may include legalizing software piracy.

This is an unpopular and desperate move by Putin in an attempt to give back some control and counterattack against a Western bloc that wants Russia subjugated for its aggressive policies. But with about half of Russian citizens using illegal pirated programs as their primary source for computer games, this will only prove more detrimental than helpful. For example,

Microsoft found that 1 out of 3 copies of Windows XP being used around the world was illegally installed, but this dropped significantly when they released Windows 7- 8 years ago because those versions were preloaded on all new computers.

What it will mean for the industry if this happens

This is a big deal because it means that the end-users might not be held accountable for pirating copies of the software and could easily get away with illegal downloads. The company, on the other hand, would be responsible for protecting its intellectual property.

The most obvious downside is that no one will enforce the law and it will remain as something without consequence.

The second downside is that if this law were passed, then other countries may feel that their legal system is just as weak and therefore may not invest in anti-piracy measures.

The third and final downside is that it would give less incentive for countries like China to enforce copyright laws, as they are quite possibly a bigger offender than Russia.

All in all, if an individual was caught pirating then nothing would happen. Even if a corporation was caught pirating, only minor penalties would ensue.

This also means that any major company can outsource its development to get products done quickly and effectively by taking advantage of these loopholes.

The biggest issue with this is that it could lead to large-scale outsourcing since there are no real consequences for employing thousands of developers in countries where laws aren’t enforced such as China or India.

What it means for us as users

Pirating (downloading without paying) a piece of software is a crime punishable by law. There are very few occasions when this is legal,

for example, if the copyright holder does not provide some form of availability in your region and you happen to be located somewhere where this would be legal.

The Western world recently leveled sanctions on Russia over its involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. This means that it would now be legal for Russians to download pirated software if this was their only option for getting around the sanctions. After imposing sanctions on Russian citizens,

Americans might have little reason for outrage at our government should something similar happen here.

Keep browsing Law Scribd for more updates.

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