Russia changes civil code in bid to ease WTO entry

29th September 2010, Comments 0 comments

Russia approved Wednesday changes to its civil code to reinforce protection of intellectual property and authors' rights in a bid to ease its entry into the World Trade Organisation.

The changes bring Russian law in line with WTO regulations, according to the website of the Federation Council of Russia, the upper house of the Russian parliament.

The text had already been approved on September 24 in a third and final reading by the Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, and to enter into force it must be passed by the President Dmitri Medvedev.

The new legislation remains quite vague: "citizens" can "reproduce" content "in case of necessity and uniquely for personal use", the Russian agency Itar-Tass said.

The text also does not specify the source of the "content" in question but most violations in Russia linked to intellectual property or authors' rights are linked to works distributed on the Internet.

Pirated copies of music, films and software are also sold everywhere in the country.

Russia, which opened negotiations to join the WTO in 1993, is the largest economy that is still outside the Geneva-based body.

Moscow has repeatedly accused Washington of hindering its efforts to join the WTO, which is designed to liberalize the flow of global commerce.

© 2010 AFP

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