Problem of using web evidence in Russia

An panel of lawyers concluded on Thursday that Russian notaries are not ready to certify Web resources for use as evidence in court cases. This has implications for company protection against copyright, branding and other intellectual property cases involving the Russian internet.

The notary system is intrinsic to many official functions in Russia. For example as a foreigner you have to certify a photocopy of your passport before submitting it with visa permit application. With a bureaucratic system largely based on physical paper rather than computer records, notaries are called on to authenticate and sometimes translate every document required.

However they are reluctant to certify web resources as evidence in the usual way.

“The problem stems from notaries’ conservatism,” Anton Kuzmin, deputy head of an Interior Ministry department, said. “Only every fifth notary in Moscow would know what needs to be done.”

Kuzmin said notaries’ refusal to certify such materials was due to their poor Internet skills, as few people in the regions have access to the global network. He added that the caution over the initiative was due to vague legislation, which provides few guidelines as to how to act in such cases.

This was bad news to those who wish to increase regulation on the RuNet and tackle cases of libel, intellectual property and copyright violations. Without the willingness of the notaries to certify web evidence such legal cases have little or no chance of success.

Source: Russian News Room

Nick Wilsdon

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