Russia is considering legalizing piracy to combat sanctions and tech bans

Russia is considering legalizing piracy

With lots of tech companies cutting off sales and/or services to Russia over the Ukraine war, a new report confirms Russia is considering legalizing piracy to offset these bans and sanctions.

News that Russia is considering legalizing piracy comes from a reported new law (via Torrentfreak, PC Gamer, Hothardware) that will make “some” piracy legal, enabling Russians to get around the increasing number of bans from tech and software companies.

The new “Priority Action Plan for Ensuring the Development of the Russian Economy in the Conditions of External Sanctions Pressure” proposal comes straight from the Russian Ministry of Economic Development, and details the policies they’re eyeing to offset these new bans.

Exemptions for software piracy come in item 6.7.3 within the Information Technology bit of the proposal, which would employ the “cancellation of liability for the use of software (SW) unlicensed in the Russian Federation, owned by a copyright holder from countries that have supported the sanctions.”

In essence, if Russia passes this law, it would give users that pirate software from companies that have banned and or cut off sales to Russia over its Ukraine war, impunity to pirate all they want. Again, this is only applying to companies and organizations that are banning and/or sanctioning Russia.

The proposal also seems to therefore apply to pirating unlicensed software, which also includes video games. The goal is to keep Russian businesses and organizations afloat as tech companies cut off their sales/services.

However, Kommersant notes this is irrelevant as most software is licensed-based. As such, the majority of modern software licenses have online authorization, meaning you’d be unable to get a workaround without that server check.

As covered in our previous reports, numerous tech and gaming companies have cut off sales and/or services in Russia over their ongoing war in Ukraine.

Other companies that recently cut sales or services in Russia include Epic GamesElectronic Arts, as well as Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal cutting off services to the country. Activision Blizzard halted sales in Russia, Microsoft also halted sales and services, and Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt RED halted their sales in Russia.

This is Niche Gamer Tech. In this column, we regularly cover tech and things related to the tech industry. Please leave feedback and let us know if there’s tech or a story you want us to cover!


Owner and Publisher at Niche Gamer and Nicchiban. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. Pronouns: Patriarch, Guido, Olive, Catholic

Where'd our comments go? Subscribe to become a member to get commenting access and true free speech!