YouTube may quit Russia – media

A bill has been introduced to the Russian State Duma on restricting the activity of online movie theaters, according to the Russian media outlet Kommersant.

Similarly to the law on media, the bill limits from June 1, 2017 to 20% the foreign share in companies that set up audiovisual services with professional content, Kommersant reports.

This is about online resources with a daily audience in Russia over 100,000 users during a month, or more than 20,000 people in one region of the Federation. Audiovisual services with such attendance should be included in a special register.

Under the concept of ”companies-organizers of audiovisual services” also falls YouTube, where users upload content, including that of their own production, according to the conclusion of the legal committee of Russia`s Media Telecommunications Union. It says that the bill could lead to YouTube withdrawing from the territory of Russia.

A Kommersant source familiar with the process of drafting the bill said that no methods have been developed to tell professional content from user-generated one, while YouTube contains both.

YouTube owner, the U.S.-based Google, has caching servers and to fulfill the new requirements in Russia, they will have to build additional infrastructure, the source adds.

Otherwise, YouTube will have to move to foreign platforms, which will lead to a sharp increase in foreign exchange costs of all operators and the deterioration of the quality of services, says the source, recalling that YouTube accounts for more than 30% of the total traffic by Russian users.

In addition to the risks to YouTube, the bill restricts competition and aims to benefit the individual market participants, pushing people to a ”gray zone” associated with ”uncontrolled spread of TOR and VPN”, follows from the conclusion of the legal committee of the Media Telecommunications Union.

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