Thinking of posting memes in Russia? Think again, because according to a policy directive you could be sued.
Roskomnadzor, Russia’s agency that is in charge of policing the internet, media and telecommunications, issued a policy directive which states that it is illegal to create and post memes of public figures in Russia. The directive comes in response to a recent lawsuit filed by Russian singer, Valeri Syutkin. The lawsuit was filed because of a meme of Syutkin accompanied by a line from another Russian artist’s song, which basically means “smack that bitch in the face“. The court ruled in favour of Syutkin, after which Roskomnadzor issued the policy directive on Russian Facebook, Vkontakte.
The policy directive from Roskomnadzor (in part) states that:
These ways of using celebrities’ images violate the laws governing personal data and harm the honour, dignity and business of public figures.
According to the policy directive, a public figure can report a meme or web site that has been made about him/her to the Roskomnadzor, who can shut down the website and file a claim in court.
Russia has been making their internet laws stricter, recently requiring bloggers to register their blogs with Roskomnadzor if they have more than 3 000 daily unique visits. Russia also requires that any website storing Russian citizens’ data must have physical servers within the Federation.