Foreign news aggregators services operating in Russia have to register their legal entities in the country until the end of March 2017. That applies to aggregators with traffic exceeding one million visitors per day.
That mainly concerns large aggregators as Google, Mail.ru, Yandex that reach such a hight level of traffic, reports Izvestia daily citing the Federal Antimonopoly Service (or Roskomnadzor) spokesman Vadim Amelonsky.
Starting from Jan. 1, 2017, foreign news aggregators services will have three months to register their legal entities within Russia. There are two major foreignly owned companies in the country — Bring and Google. The first one belongs to Microsoft which has a Russian subsidiary Microsoft Rus.
As for Google, according to the register, its Russian subsidiary provides advertising, not news aggregation. Therefore, the company should change its registration data or set up another subsidiary, otherwise it may be fined and blocked, the daily reports.
In June 2016, the Russian State Duma approved the third reading of a bill that introduces a special legal regime for Internet resources that collect, process and distribute information introducing a new concept of “news aggregator” and requiring them to have a Russian legal entity. The regime is applied to aggregators with traffic exceeding one million visitors per day. Roskomnadzor was assigned to maintain the register of such “news aggregators”.
Initially, when fist submitted to the Duma in Feb. 2016, the bill was proposing to essentially equates major news aggregators to mass media companies. Under the draft bill, aggregators would have been required to be a Russian legal entity with foreign ownership of no more than 20%. The draft was also proposing to obligate news aggregators to verify the accuracy of disseminated socially important information, including the mass media outlet that is the source. It also was providing for extrajudicial adoption of measures to stop the dissemination of unreliable information based on a complaint from “authorized agencies”. Already for the second reading the draft bill was substantially changed following heated discussion in society and criticism from representatives of the Internet industry.
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