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Russia may change laws to allow for software piracy

To counter sanctions against the country.

The Russian government may be changing its laws to allow for software piracy.

The news comes in the face of sanctions against the country limiting access to technology and software following its invasion of Ukraine.

Tech companies like Microsoft, Apple, Sony and Adobe have pulled products and services in Russia, while many games companies have also followed suit.

According to Torrent Freak (thanks PC Gamer), the "Priority Action Plan for Ensuring the Development of the Russian Economy in the Conditions of External Sanctions Pressure" has been proposed by the Russian Ministry of Economic Development.

If adopted, the proposal will impact copyright, patent and trademark owners acting against Russia's interests.

One particular item in the proposal would remove punishments for software piracy. "Cancellation of liability for the use of software (SW) unlicensed in the Russian Federation, owned by a copyright holder from countries that have supported the sanctions," it reads.

It means criminal or civil penalties for pirating software would be waived, as long as the software originates from a company supporting the sanctions against Russia.

The proposal is aimed at allowing Russian businesses to continue to operate using existing software, many of which require a subscription via the cloud or online verification so are impossible to use without access to servers.

The proposed law would seemingly also cover videogames. This would be an unprecedented move by the Russian government.

Earlier today Nintendo suspended Russian product shipments, following similar moves by Microsoft, Sony, EA, CD Projekt Red, Activision Blizzard, and others.

A Bundle for Ukraine has also been released on itch.io to support humanitarian efforts in the country.

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Ed Nightingale avatar

Ed Nightingale

News reporter

Ed is Reporter at Eurogamer, with an interest in streaming, people and communities, and giving a voice to marginalised people.


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