Clear Sky Initiative again gathered rights holders for the conference ‘Fighting piracy in Ukraine: What’s done – What to do.’ dated 2018 this time. The Initiative invited all those keen on intellectual property and they met on 19 September within the framework of Kyiv Media Week.
Ukraine is able to and should follow the geek economy course. There is no doubt that creation of its own human intellect products would result in providing large-scale employment possibilities for highly qualified and skilled personnel, further growth of environmentally benign production while encouraging both : the local creative endeavour and investments from abroad.
But what are we supposed to do if such products have been subject to theft which poses a risk for the creative industry development ? Who is supposed to meet the threat ? What has been done? And what are the challenges to meet in the nearest future? What about relevant provisions in this country’s current laws? Which tools are used to response to the threat and remedy the situation? Any results achieved and if so, what are they? What do our neighbours offer to combat piracy?
Kateryna Fedorova, Clear Sky Initiative Public Union Director, acting as the conference moderator suggested that we should seek answers to the above questions deriving from the intellectual protection issues coverage in Ukraine’s current laws. She commented on the relevant administrative and criminal responsibility stipulated for the intellectual property infringements. Besides, she translated the discussion into operational practices focusing on the measures taken and further implications for the rights holders.
Zaur Urusov, Deputy Head, Cyberpolice Department, reported on everyday legal routine to be followed by law enforcement authorities and in particular: “Infringements of intellectual property fall into the private prosecution crimes category and therefore we are entitled to initiate criminal proceedings on the issues only subject to prior official complaints launched by the rights holders and submission of all the required documents pertaining to the misdemeanor in question. The number of the applications are ever growing year in, year out. The wrongdoings are most frequently reported in Lvov, Kiev and Dnepr. It is only in the course of 2018 that more than 30 cases have been referred to court with more than 100 infringements fixed all in all”.
Viacheslav Miienko, “1+1 Media” Deputy Director General for Legal Affairs, “1+1 Media”, Managing Partner, Smartsolutions Law Group, shared a certain action plan to combat piracy: “We have highlighted the three main activity areas to focus on with the aim to draw up the effective strategy for anti-piracy campaigns and namely: to consistently monitor infringements prevailing in the market, to find out an overall solution to protect rights while integrating up to date technologies and lawyers’ experience and also to actively coordinate activities carried out by right holder and work group at all stages up to the final settlement of dispute.” He also named a few combat tools, including initiation of criminal and administrative cases, lock of access to content within the Internet, black lists and submission of applications to public authorities“.
Nikolai Feingold, Commercial Director, StarLight Digital, emphasized: “We fight thefts and thieves. Within the context a pirate is a businessman winning a high margin business since he/she does not pay anything to a content producer. Thus we fight the good fight for fair and equal provisions to raise money. What we have at our disposal are intellectual property protection algorithms and tried and tested templates. We are well prepared and ready to share our experience, information and instructions so there is no need for other rights holders to recreate the wheel. The latest attainments to our credit are as follow: 27 entries in URPTI (Unified Register of Pre-Trial Investigations) with 5 of them being subject to searches, 6 of them sent for expert investigation and 1 of them –taken to court“.
Vladimir Iling, Head, Ukrainian Anti-Piracy Association, commented on activities and achievements especially in the sphere of camcording: “It is our opinion that internet piracy, illegal show of motion pictures and camcording are the main piracy challenges. In the course of 2018 we have made every effort to close sites (51), replace hostings (41) and close movie theatres (42). For the first time ever a camcorder has been detained with the relevant criminal proceeding instigated pursuant to Article 176 of Ukraine’s Criminal Code“.
Victoriya Tsomaya, Marketing Director, CMO VOLIA, was the first one to speak on burning issues , such as business versus its support for rights holders, transformation of content consumption in terms of formats and technologies, the resulting implications for the market and intellectual rights protection. “While economics is at standstill, theft will prevail and it tending to disappear when and if economy recovers, i.e. when it starts to be lucrative. The rights holders have, nevertheless, to reconsider their pricing policies. If we take a look at the segments they have already done this we would see that piracy is actually vanishing there”.
Aleksey Krasiuk, Deputy Director for Operations and Information Safety , EMA (Ukrainian Interbank Payment Systems Member Association) commented on the banks – rights holders cooperation prospects: “Within the framework of cooperation with Clear Sky we are planning to draw up a procedure to inform banks and payment services concerning funds for the use of illegal content received on their clients’ accounts. Accounting for the ban on such activities it would make financial organizations suspend cooperation with such clients and also given EMA incorporates the majority of Ukrainian banks and financial organizations participants in in the payment market the project seems to be quite promising”.
Andrey Bichuk, Lawyer , OLX ( classified ads company and a platform for selling goods and services) made a point on another aspect of combatting piracy :“ OLX is a global worldwide brand. Therefore we can’t stand aside and be part of the piracy ecosystem. Trying to provide opportunities for all users we promptly response to all requests so as to meet the overarching goal which would be a win-win situation in the end”. The Conference segment on the tools of antipiracy campaign was launched by Dmitriy Levin, Head, Content Monitoring Center, Starlight Digital (TV Channels, such as STB, Novy, ICTV, etc.): “As of late we have managed to either remove or block our channels’ illegal online broadcasts ( 29), attachments for Google Play and AppStor (7), OLX ads ( 762), STB sale announcements ( 4), Official OTT pirates on Facebook (2 groups), playlists ( 61), ForkPlayer installment videos (87). We have now a few – in fact, 19 – success cases of blocking payments due to intellectual property rights infringers via Visa and Master Card. We are also proud of our latest achievements in Instagram and cooperation project with Infomir which has just been launched”.
Andrey Bakhtalovsky, Product Owner, SUDUM (monitoring content software) and Anna Andryushchenko Projects Director , Kinolife Distribution, commented on their joint effort in combatting illegal distribution of motion pictures, emphasizing SUDUM effectivity. According to Anna “High piracy rate on Internet is our major challenge. Besides, people are not ready to pay for content. While investing in advertising we automatically promote pirate sites, codes and thus go around in circles. However, SUDUM has helped us remove 27022 illegal video copies, 9141 pages from Google search and block 50 sites using shady corporate identity for advertising shady goods and services.”.
The final part of the Conference was opened by Marta Sulkiewicz, Sales Director for Gemius products in the EMEA&APAC region who shared her observations on pay services development in Poland siting as an example the legalization of once a pirate site. The service now accounts for 100,000 subscribers gaining quite legal revenues. Besides Marta also commented on the company’s research into the sites from the blacklists.org which helps promptly detect ads placement on sites infringing the rights holders rights. However, there are some good reasons for the ads placement on such sites and, in particular, technical errors or unfair partners. The situation might be remedied by a special email option which would help fence off the consequences. The list of top-10 pirate resources represented to uanet audience – is the result of the a.m. activities.
Aleksey Shuldeshov, Producer, Star Media, provided more insight on the specifics of the rightsholders’ losses and loss calculations in YouTube, digital environment in dealings with the TV majors . We have our own content (more than 5.5 hours) and more than 350 titles that are to be protected. Therefore we have established a structure of our own to protect content so as to prevent profit losses in the digital environment, price reduction in contracts with TV majors, cuts in product value and loss of goodwill.
When finalizing the discussion Katerina Fedorova dwelled upon research into Ukraine’s Internet audience implemented by Gemius specifically for the Clear Sky Initiative while focusing on issues, such as the most consumed online content Ukrainians’ readiness to buy access to content and their ability to tell the difference between pirate and legal videos. The findings are as follows: watching video on Internet is most popular – 50% audience; the 34% of them able to differ legal from illegal content and 89 % claim the need to fight piracy. As for the payments: only 17% are ready to pay for content and about 7% do pay.
“Piracy is extremely detrimental to business. Nevertheless winning anti-piracy campaign opens up a tremendous space for business. So, what are we supposed to do? To pool the effort, to share experience to work in parallel and simultaneously to use recommendations drawn up by Clear Sky participants “, – that ‘s how Katerina Fedorova summarized the discussion appealing to all concerned to join forces in the antipiracy campaign.”