- The Washington Times - Friday, July 24, 2015

YouTube has been warned by Russia that the video-sharing portal could soon end up on the Kremlin’s growing list of banned websites due to a recent copyright infringement spat.

Roskommandzor, Moscow’s official Internet watchdog, told Google, the video site’s parent company, on Wednesday that it will add YouTube to its nationwide blacklist if certain infringing videos don’t disappear from the website by Monday.

The video site first landed in hot water earlier this year after users uploaded unlicensed copies of two Russian television shows, “Fizruk (P.E. Teacher)” and “Chernobyl.” YouTube took the videos down in April after a Moscow court order, but government regulators said 137 other infringing clips from the shows in question were still online as of July 20.

“After three business days, if the unlawful information is not removed, access to these URLs will be restricted by ISPs,” reads part of the translated statement. “This can mean that subscribers of some ISPs will have no access to the entirety of the YouTube service.”

Roskommandzor said it would add the infringing web addresses to its blacklist Monday if they remain online. According to a translation provided by Global Voices Online, a nonprofit group that studies digital media, the regulator would then move forward with potentially censoring all of YouTube within the week.

YouTube had already removed the questionable content as of Thursday, according to Roskommandzor, after a spokesperson for the agency told local media that the site risked becoming “completely unavailable.”

“When a copyright holder notifies us of a video that infringes their copyright, we remove the content promptly, and terminate the accounts of users with multiple copyright strikes,” a representative from Google’s Russian office said in a statement.

Last year, the widely popular online code repository Github was momentarily banned in Russia after a user published a single post referencing ways to commit suicide, and the Kremlin recently told Google, Facebook and Twitter that it must comply with new laws enacted under Mr. Putin requiring bloggers to be registered with the government.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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