Belarus allows piracy of films and music from “hostile” countries

Belarus allows piracy of films and music from “hostile” countries

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has signed a new law that legalizes the pirating of films and music from “hostile countries” and the import of works protected by intellectual property.

Faced with the latest international sanctions, put in place after Alexander Lukashenko’s support for Russia, Belarus is now banking on “soft power”. A new law, signed on January 3, legalizes the piracy of digital works and their import even if they are protected by intellectual property law and without the prior authorization of the rights holders.

A first part of the law authorizes the piracy of films, music, television programs or even software from “foreign states which commit hostile actions against Belarusian legal persons and/or physical persons”, is it stated in the law. This is presented as a solution for “the development of the intellectual, spiritual and moral potential of society”, in the face of international sanctions decided by the United States, the European Union or the United Kingdom.

A second part of the law restricts intellectual property rights to guarantee legal access to these pirated films, music, television programs and software. Therefore, the import of these works is authorized, without the green light of the rights holders.

Belarus is also looking to make money from this process. Some sort of royalty has to be paid for the use or consumption of these digital works. The Belarusian Patent Authority will keep this money for three years.

This law will enter into force by January 15 for a period of two years, therefore at least until December 31, 2024.

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