Serbia, the last haven for piracy?

Downloading films, series and music from the Internet is an almost every day activity for a large number of people in Serbia. However, all of that could be changed very soon!

Serbia remains one of the last piracy havens in Europe and the Balkans. The situation will not change as long as the legal representatives of the major global publishers of music and film are not that keen on investigating and prosecuting violation of copyright in our country.

Serbia could stay under the radar for a foreseeable future, or it could be targeted by these big foreign companies investing copyright breach since people in Serbia are not only illegally downloading films, series and music, but are also sending this content to their friends and relatives in other countries.

This is done usually through various content sharing websites, and the catch is that a person, who lives abroad and receives this content from someone in Serbia, cannot be charged by the authorities for using the pirated content. These activities have gone up in numbers following some of the countries, that are Serbia’s neighbours, joining the EU.

However, as of last year, Hungary has made it illegal to use the content that has been illegally downloaded and shared by foreigners, regardless of their place of residence. Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia have also started to warn their citizens about using this content which constitutes a breach of copyright.

“I regularly send cartoons to my sister and her family in Sweden. She has three small children and sometimes they watch the same cartoon 20 times over which can be expensive. One time, she accidentally watched a film on a pirated website, and was fined 1,000 EUR. I send her cartoons and films every weekend, but I guess that, at some point in time, this will be banned too”, a woman from Novi Sad says.

Petar Kocovic, a professor at the Faculty of Information Technology and Engineering and a telecommunications expert, says that Serbia’s regulation regarding copyright and related rights is good, but it does not work in practice because the burden of proof lies with the side that suffered damages rather than the side that has committed the act of piracy.

“Simply put, our institutions are not too keen on dealing with piracy, while major music and film companies are not even interested in suing people in Serbia which is the reason why nothing has been done so far. According to the Copyright and Related Rights Law, line ministries, each in their own field, should monitor the unauthorized use of protected content. You can easily track the computer to which the pirated content has been downloaded through an IP address”, Professor Kocovic adds.

(Blic, 12.02.2018)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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