Proposed Protectionist Legisation Could Force YouTube Out of Russia

YouTubeYouTube’s role in the Russian market could be under threat if legislation being considered by the Russian Duma goes ahead. The proposed bill will aim to limit the share of foreign owners of AV services with professional content to 20 percent. Whilst YouTube’s ownership is unquestionably more than 20 percent foreign-owned, the platforms’s content is a combination of both user-generated content (UGC) and professionally produced.

This could be a problem, according to Kommersant, a Russian news publication, who report that YouTube being forced to withdraw from the market. One solution might be for YouTube to separate the UGC from the professionally-produced content, although – given the fact that YouTube is for the most part a platform and doesn’t enquire as to how a piece of content is produced – it’s unclear whether YouTube would be able to differentiate between the two.

Russia’s leading telcos, VimpelCom and MTS, also oppose the adoption of the law, which was submitted to the State Duma (the lower house of parliament) last week by MPs Shamsail Saraliyev of the United Russia party and Andrei Lugovoy of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia.

The ISS, which represents a number of Russian telcos, say that the move is more likely to push Russian internet users into the ‘grey zone’, where they opt for VPN and TOR services to bypass restrictions on access to sites like YouTube.

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