The chief Internet adviser to Russian president Vladimir Putin made headlines by suggesting copyright owners shouldn’t “unnecessarily terrorize” people. Now it seems he owns a torrent site.
Torrnado.ru isn’t Russia’s most popular torrent site — Alexa says it’s only the 2,334th most popular site in Russia. But popular or not, Torrnado is owned by ECO PC Solutions, which TorrentFreak reports is owned by MediaMetrics, a company owned by Putin adviser Herman Klimenko.
Head to the site right now and you’ll see torrents of Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, Terminator Genisys, and (for some reason) Jumanji. TorrentFreak isn’t claiming that Klimenko moderates the site, or is directly involved with running it, but it is clear that he owns it.
Herman Klimenko made headlines when, just days after officially becoming Putin’s Internet adviser, he told TV channel Russia 24 that blocking torrent sites would be “unfeasible for technical reasons,” adding that even if blocking were possible “it’s another question whether it is necessary to use it or not.”
Some Internet activists were happy to see someone with access to government take a moderate stance on enforcement. Media companies, presumably, were less pleased.
His argument seems to be that it’s not a good time to start strictly enforcing copyright in Russia — first, the economy needs to improve.
“Consumption of copyright content increases with economic growth, and when the situation is very serious, I think people do not have to unnecessarily terrorize these issues,” Klimenko said. “Pushing hard now on this topic, I think, is not worth it. When the economy improves, you should return to this issue.”
Regardless of whether you agree with the sentiment, it’s hard to see Klimenko as a neutral party while he profits from the exact “consumption” of protected intellectual property that he’s talking about here.