Yandex Must Remove Links to Pirated Content, or Face Shut down Tonight

Yandex, the Russian multinational corporation that specializes in Internet-related products and services, including Russia’s most popular search engine and Yandex.Video, Russia’s answer to YouTube, has been asked to remove links to illegal content from its video service.

In a statement, Vadim Subbotin, the Deputy Head of Russia’s telecom watchdog Roscomnadzor warned that Yandex.video will be blocked starting Thursday night if the pirate links aren’t removed.

Yandex was already ordered to remove links to pirated content by the Moscow City Court last week. At the same time, major broadcasters such as Gazprom-Media and the National Media Group pulled their TV channels from Yandex’s ‘TV Online’ service in protest and said that they would restore their content on the condition that Yandex complies with the court’s ruling.

It was later revealed that it was Gazprom-Media that had filed a copyright infringement complaint with the Moscow City Court against Yandex.

It must be noted that the Moscow City Court is responsible for handling ISP blocking requests, while Roscomnadzor is responsible for ordering ISPs to block sites.

Yandex played dead after the ruling, but on Monday, Roscomnadzor reiterated the court’s order and reminded the internet company that it must comply within 3 days or face the consequences.

“If Yandex does not take measures, then according to the law, the Yandex.Video service must be blocked. There’s nowhere to go,” Subbotin told Interfax.

Yesterday, Subbotin revealed to Sputnik that Yandex had refused to sign a memorandum on the fight against online piracy. Yandex’s press service claimed that the current version of the document needs more work.

The memorandum was to be signed during a session on the fight against piracy at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, which took place on May 24-26 and. “(…) unfortunately, Yandex ignored signing,” Subbotin said.

Russia has a long and checkered history with internet piracy. Between August 1st, 2013 and August 1st, 2018, Roscomnadzor had received 3,702 blocking orders from the Moscow City Court following 8,454 complaints by rightsholders.