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Low Prices—best weapon against pirates

Russians are used to the fact that pirated versions of latest Hollywood flicks or their favorite audio tracks could be purchased outside practically every single metro station in Moscow even before their official release.

This fact frustrates copyright owners as well as those whose job entails protection of their interests against frauds. Fight against piracy has been going on for years. The results however appear to be rather depressing. Russian law enforcement has to deal with tons of new CDs, tapes, books containing stolen materials. Russia is not alone however. Even such highly developed country as the United States suffers from the exact same problem.

Today, Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs has made several proposals in regards to the fight against infringed merchandise, i.e. piracy. Aside from regular raids to those special markets, followed by confiscation and liquidation of pirated goods, it was suggested to pay closer attention to the economic aspect of this problem.

Small amount of confiscated discs would not do much harm to their manufacturers. Besides, in the end only small businesses suffer, while the actual pirates manage to escape.

Chief of the department of state’s trade inspection of the Ministry of Economic Development, Nadezhda Nazina decided to inform the nation of certain breakthroughs. According to her, production of infringed merchandise has decreased by 10-15% countrywide. She also pointed out some remarkable numbers. For instance, she informed that the entire turnover of such pirated video tapes constituted 83% of the entire market in 2002, pirated audiotapes—76%, CDs and DVDs—80-86%. One can only wonder how our artists get their profits. Musicians at least, can get some financial compensation from their performances; but should cinematographers do?

Head of the department of investigation in the sphere of economic crimes of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Alexei Orlov has introduced several ways to rid the country of such problem.

First of all, he suggested radical increase of fines for manufacturing and distribution of pirated goods. Second of all, it was decided to introduce up to 5-6 years of imprisonment for such illegal activity.

The best solution however turned to be such that both of the state officials addressed manufacturers of the legal merchandise asking them to reduce their prices.

Indeed, taking into account relatively low incomes of our youth—main consumers of audio and video products, it would be unreasonable for legal manufacturers to sell their legal copies for astronomical prices.

Maxim Artemyev

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