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Patricia O'Connell
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David Weslow Discusses Intellectual Property Infringement on Russian Websites

Policy and Regulatory Report
January 16, 2013

David E. Weslow, a partner in Wiley Rein’s Intellectual Property Practice, was interviewed by Policy and Regulatory Report (PaRR) for a December 21, 2012 article on U.S. efforts to enforce intellectual property rights (IPR) on websites hosted in Russia.

The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) reported in December that vKontakte, Russia’s most popular social networking site, is among “notorious markets” that facilitate global piracy. Mr. Weslow predicted that copyright infringement will remain a problem on vKontakte, even though Moscow recently joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), which requires effective IPR enforcement as a condition of membership.

“The continued operation of such a site demonstrates the difficulties that IPR holders face when trying to shut down or reform sites hosted in Russia,” Mr. Weslow told PaRR. “Certain Russia-based sites that are known to host infringing content and other online scams are among the most highly visited sites on the Internet.”

Appearing on the USTR’s “blacklist” of notorious markets does not have direct legal consequences, but it represents a “black eye” that can be referenced by intellectual property owners in dealings with identified companies and in IPR enforcement actions, he said.

The music and motion picture industries have long been concerned with Russian sites that host infringing content, and “in recent years, online scams involving infringement of the IP rights of financial services companies have also seemed to migrate to hosts based in Russia,” Mr. Weslow said.