Uzbekistan Acting Against Online Piracy?

by Nathan Hamm on 8/14/2006 reports that a number of Uzbek websites hosting music and video content have been closed down (via MP3Uz).

На сайте TPS никаких сообщений о причине закрытия сайтов с музыкой и кино нет. На портале же услуги Stream компании Sharq Telekom 2 августа появилось объявление о том, что «музыкальный и видеопортал находятся на реконструкции». В обсуждениях на стримовском форуме, однако, высказываются предположения о том, что закрытие сайтов связано с вступлением в силу Закона «Об авторском праве и смежных правах» в новой редакции, принятого Законодательной палатой 23 марта и одобренного Сенатом 9 июня. Президент Узбекистана подписал данный закон 20 июля.

For those who don’t read Russian, here’s my rough translation. (Improvements to it are welcome.)

On the site TPS there is no information about the closure of music and video sites. On August 2 an explanation appeared on the portal of Sharq Telekom’s Stream service saying that “the music and videoportal is under reconstruction.” In discussions on Stream’s forum, however, readers speculate that the closure of sites is connected to the entry into force of the law on copyright and adjacent rights in a new form, passed by the legislature on March 23 and the Senate on June 9. The President of Uzbekistan signed the law into effect on the 20 of July. says they were unable to confirm whether or not this is true, but they explained that the sites have long been of doubtful legality. Internet service providers created them for the convenience of their subscribers and only allowed access to their content from Uzbekistan.

The report notes that sites hosted by Sarkor are still up, and it speculates that the others will soon return. Were I to hazard a guess, that is precisely what it would be. In 2001, for example, pirated music cds (but not mp3 discs) were unavailable for a short while. According to someone who ran of these stores, the “crackdown on piracy” was all about figuring out a new scheme of payoffs that would make sure the police would continue to turn a blind eye to the business.

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This post was written by...

– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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