Russian notaries take cautious position over Web materials

MOSCOW, March 23 (RIA Novosti) - Russian notaries are not ready yet to certify Web resources that could be used as evidence in court, an online lawyer roundtable concluded Thursday.

"The problem stems from notaries' conservatism," Anton Kuzmin, deputy head of an Interior Ministry department, said. "Only every fifth notary in Moscow would know what needs to be done."

The forum devoted to the legal aspects of Runet, Russia's Internet domain, raised the issue when discussing civil libel cases and lawsuits against copyright violations in Internet publications.

In such cases, a printout of the Internet resource in question could substantiate the claim if certified by a notary.

Kuzmin said notaries' refusal to certify such materials was due to their poor Internet skills, as few people in the regions have access to the global network. He added that the caution over the initiative was due to vague legislation, which provides few guidelines as to how to act in such cases.

Andrei Vorobyov, representing a company that registers Russian Internet domains, said the law did not pose a problem and the reason was mere incompetence and the time-consuming certification process.

"A notary has to accompany the certified copy with a protocol including all the details of the lawsuit, technical parameters of the computer and a great deal of other details," he said, adding that the protocol could sometimes run into several pages.

Kuzmin also said that an independent expert examination of Internet resources could help avoid forgeries.

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