Russian torrent moderators convicted of piracy

A Moscow court has found a Russian couple who moderated torrent trackers website guilty of piracy in a ruling both sides claim indicates the authorities’ intention to take a harder line on illegal file sharing.

Andrei and Nadezhda Lopukhov were given a four-year suspended sentence on copyright infringement charges in Moscow’s Timiryazevsky District court

The couple was accused of inflicting 750 million rubles’ ($23 million) worth of damage on copyright holders to some 30 movies, including “Shrek the Third” and “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer” through torrent tracker sites they moderated.

Russia has stepped up Internet regulations in recent months, including by passing a tough law against online film piracy that came into force in August and is expected to be expanded by the end of the year to cover all forms of copyright infringement.

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