American movie studios are pissed off at countries like China and Russia because the governments let everyone copy their movies and sell them on the street. What do you expect, China has dissidents to repress and the Russians are too busy taking bribes to go looking for War of the Worlds bootlegs. But the studios have some lobbying money and that spells political power and Russia has been kept out of the World Trade Organization partly because they don’t do anything about media piracy. Media piracy is differentiated from the other kind of piracy by the lack of eye patches and people saying “arrrgh.”

Hollywood Reporter now says that Russia is going to at least pretend to care about this at least until they get into the WTO. They have passed a new law banning the sale of DVDs, CDs, and videos from street markets and kiosks. If someone does sell a DVD from the street, it sure as heck better be homemade porn and not the latest Jim Carrey movie.

The fact that a law is just now being passed makes you wonder what Russia was doing about piracy before this. Well, actually, they had a law very similar to the one they just passed. Of course, the cops didn’t enforce it or took bribes in order to look the other way. I’m sure that won’t happen this time, though. Hollywood is safe in the bosom of the Russian legal system.

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