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iTunes and Google Play may be forced to leave Russia

Stores iTunes, Google Play, and Apple TV services can stop working in Russia. The state Duma adopted in the first reading a bill that sets a limit of 20% on foreign ownership of online-cinemas and introduces them to a number of limitations. The document was supported by 321 MP and opposed by two, and three abstained.

Online cinema related “services, monetizing their services by viewing ads aimed at attracting the attention of consumers in the territory of the Russian Federation, or providing video content to domestic consumers by subscription (for a fee)”.

The amendments prohibit foreign individuals and companies owning shares in excess of 20% in the “audiovisual services”, operating in Russia. Under the law get site with audience of more than 100 000 inhabitants Russia in a month (or 20,000 per month if the project is running in only one subject of the Russian Federation). The notion of “audiovisual service”, the law does not spelled out.

From the scope of the bill withdrawn social networks and services, which provide access only to the user content, as complete control over the content by the organizer of the service impossible. In addition, it should not affect Internet search engines, however, according to “Yandex”, the document still consider showing movies in the results of searching for audiovisual services.

The government has already approved the bill, noting that it should be finalized for the second reading, further justifying the need for restrictions for foreigners. Experts from the group “Communication and it” at the government when it suspected that the authors of the document want to monopolize the market for online video in which they occupy only 12%.

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The bill submitted to the Duma in November 2016 elected by Samail Saralieva of the “United Russia” and Andrey Lugovoy of the liberal democratic party. The document was developed “Mediacommunications Union”, representatives of “Rostelecom”, “Megaphone”, “Vympelcom”, MTS, “Ayr-a Telecom” (“Dagi”), TTC, CTC Media, “Gazprom-media” and “National media group” (NMG). A representative of the ISS in December 2016, said that the document will affect online cinema and Megogo, which are controlled by Cyprus entities.

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