Russian government to toughen laws against copyright abusers

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MOSCOW, September 8 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Cabinet has approved Penal Code amendments that would entitle investigators to conduct preliminary inquiries into alleged violations of copyright and related rights.

Presenting the amendments to a Cabinet session Thursday, Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev said they would give investigators the right to conduct preliminary inquiries both at the Prosecutor's Office and at the agency that had exposed the offense.

Nurgaliyev reported that as many as 1, 592 inquiries had been launched into an alleged breach of copyright and related rights in the year's first half (a 51% increase year-on-year), with 1,513 of the probes dealing with gross violations. The overall damage caused by the offenses under investigation is put at $10 million. The seized property is worth an estimated $10.64 million.

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