With Internet news aggregators will remove the obligation to verify the information

Amendments to the adopted in the first reading the bill on news aggregators prepared by the Chairman of the Duma Committee on information policy Leonid Levin. This he told . According to him, adjustments had been made following the dialogue with the participation of the Internet industry and authorities. “Almost all disputed issues were found solutions, staged by the Russian Internet community,” he says.

This Tuesday the Committee will consider the Levin amendment, and if approved on Friday, the Duma may adopt the bill in second reading. Finally it can be adopted before the end of the spring session, says Levin.

What changes in the law

The amendments remove one of the most contentious points of the bill — about the responsibilities of aggregators to verify the accuracy of information they disseminate if it is obtained from resources registered in the Roskomnadzor as media. They are not responsible for what the media are writing, says Levin. During the discussion, industry representatives and authorities repeatedly pointed out that the item actually suspend aggregators. Pre-moderation this set of materials is technically impossible, in addition, the requirement is redundant, since aggregators collect information from the media, whose activities and so is subject to the laws on mass media, stated in the opinion of the Ministry of communications on the bill.

In the new version change the requirement to the owner. In the first edition of the bill introduced a limit of 20% on foreign participation. Now the owner can be any foreign entity, but they must establish a Russian legal entity. Thus, the company “Yandex” do not have to change the ownership structure, says Levin. “We expect that Google will find a legal solution to this problem and will be able to continue to aggregate the news media for its users,” adds the author of the amendment.

The amendments clarify how the aggregators are required to retain information: they just have to within six months save links, so this rule will not cause a problem, says Levin. Reduced penalties for failure to comply with Roskomnadzor orders about deleting of illegal information: minimum from now on will amount to 600 thousand rubles instead of the previously provided 800 thousand RUB. for the first violation. To come into force the bill must now from 1 January 2017, in the initial version stated that it shall enter into force ten days after publication.

Impossible demands

The bill equating news aggregators to media was developed by the Deputy from “Fair Russia” Alexey Kazakov and the Communist Alexander Yushchenko. They made it to the state Duma on February 25. On 19 April, the document was adopted in the first reading. Even then, in the Duma promised to significantly correct it for the second reading.

The document defines a news aggregator is an online resource with the audience of more than 1 million visitors a day, which collects, processes and disseminates information. In the original version of the bill on aggregators proposed to impose, in fact, the same responsibility for disseminated information that now lies on the media. For this they have to obtain a special license from Roskomnadzor, which will maintain a register of news aggregators, in the same Department gets in the case with the media. As in relation to mass media, Roskomnadzor receives the right to demand from the aggregator to block illegal information. Previously, the Agency could require that only the media.

The interlocutors in the online companies sharply criticized the initial version of the bill, which contained the requirement for verification of aggregated information. Many of the requirements spelled out in the document, “does not correspond to the actual capabilities” and “unrealistic”, stressed the representative of “Yandex”. The company claimed that the bill as originally drafted would jeopardize the existence of “Yandex.News” in its current form. Representative Mail.Ru Group particularly noted the imprecision of the definition of a news aggregator, which can be attributed to any Internet service, including instant messengers, social networks, search”.

Interviewees in the companies also pointed to the rule limiting foreign ownership to 20%: the representative of “Yandex” called it excessive and wearing a “prohibitive” for most Russian companies and representative Mail.Ru Group expressed concern that such a measure can hit not only in the business of Internet companies, but also on investment climate in General.

“The service will be able to work

During the consultations, industry representatives with the relevant Committee of the state Duma the bill a second reading takes into account all the “fundamental proposition” of Internet companies, said Sergei Plugotarenko, Director, Russian Association for electronic communications (RAEC; brings together over a hundred players on the Internet market, acted as a mediator between the industry and the state Duma in the discussion of the bill).

From the original version removed some of the “most sensitive” for the job of news aggregators points, the representative agrees Mail.Ru Group. “After these changes, the service will be able to continue working”, — assured the representative of the Internet holding company.

U “Yandex” (develops the second largest news aggregator “Yandex.News”) was a number of fundamental objections to the bill and during the discussion of amendments to the second reading “part of those comments was taken into account,” reported in a press-service of the company. Not included in the current package of amendments proposals may be reflected in the regulations that will prepare Roskomnadzor, said the employee of the press service of “Yandex”.

A Google spokesperson was unable to comment on the updated operational version of the bill, explaining that the company’s lawyers need time to study the amendments. In Rambler & Co. Sunday not able to provide comment.

“In the new edition balanced the interests of the protection of citizens’ rights, public safety and Internet business, says Levin. — This law will be another step towards introduction to the legal field of new media, not subject to the current law “On mass media”.

Industry issues

As noted Plugotarenko and the source in a major Internet company, the updated version of the bill does not include two important requests of the industry. The first is to clarify the content of requirements the requirements of Roskomnadzor, the second to narrow the concept of “the owner of news aggregator”, which is now quite blurry.

It is assumed that the question about the requirements of Roskomnadzor will be discussed at the next stages of elaboration of legal acts, clarifies, Plotarea. An item about a possible popadanie under the bill of the social networks (“Vkontakte”, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) still causes issues, said the source in a major Internet company.

However, as explained, Plotarea, from the definition in the bill follows that web services can be considered news aggregators, if they process and disseminate news information. For example, if the module is a news aggregating website that offers social network, forcibly appears on the main page of this service and its placement there is the decision of the administration of the social network, says the head of the RAEC. If the “collection” and sort of engaged news users, these services do not fall within the scope of the bill, he concludes.