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Izvestia: Writers lose about 50% of their income due to piracy

17 May 2024

Source: Izvestia

Up to 95% of the authors of the self-publishing turned out to be victims of piracy, 61% — already in the first week after publication, Izvestia found out. This applies not only to digital authors. Writers Dmitry Vodennikov, Alexey Ivanov, Daria Dontsova, Yana Wagner and Alexandra Marinina spoke about the problems with piracy. Copyright protection legislation is imperfect, so online platforms and publishers are forced to come up with their own mechanisms to combat piracy.

Especially for Izvestia, the Litnet online literary platform conducted a survey among thousands of Russian digital authors - it turned out that 95% of respondents had encountered illegal distribution of books. 74% of Litnet respondents believe that their income is affected by piracy. And Sergey Anuryev, CEO of the Litres Group of Companies, noted that writers can lose up to 40-50% of their income in conditions of illegal distribution of books. This applies not only to independent authors, but also to writers who work with publishing houses.

Publishers and online platforms are creating their own mechanisms to reduce piracy. In addition to the mechanisms of platforms and publishers, there is also Russian legislation. For example, Article 144.1 of the Civil Procedure Code of the Russian Federation can be used for preliminary measures to protect copyright and related rights.

Maxim Ali, partner of Comply intellectual property practice, notes that in some cases the copyright holder can achieve compensation — up to 5 million rubles or twice the cost of the license. But the courts most often award compensation in the amount not exceeding 150 thousand rubles for one violation, emphasizes Sergey Zuykov, managing partner of Zuykov and partners.

In addition to the direct damage from piracy, when authors lose half of their income, the damage can be estimated in the loss of audience from platforms and publishers, as well as on a federal scale — in tax leakage. By law, regardless of whether the author publishes himself or signs a contract with a publisher, he remains an author. This means that the legal system on paper provides copyright protection to both. But in practice it is not so simple. To date, the illegal publication of a work on the Internet does not cause the site to be blocked out of court — a court is needed, and the problem sinks even deeper into bureaucracy.